Who will replace Tom Brady as New England Patriots quarterback?
By James Simpson
Last Updated: 20/03/20 11:50am
With Tom Brady officially leaving New England after 20 years with the team, who will be the Patriots' starting quarterback moving forward?
It still seems surreal, but when the 2020 NFL season begins, we won't see the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick duo take the field together.
While the big question at the moment seems to be 'where will Tom Brady go?', perhaps the more interesting question is 'who will take over as the starter in New England?'
- Brady announces New England exit
- Belichick: Brady the greatest QB of all-time
- Tampa Bay reach agreement with Brady
- NFL Free Agency - latest updates
This is a team that, led by Belichick, has continued to remain as Super Bowl contenders despite Brady coming to the twilight of his career, so any player stepping in to fill his shoes will be expected to have immediate success.
Who might that player be? Let's take a look at some of the potential Brady replacements...
He may not be the most glamorous option, but 'Red Rifle' has been linked to New England since the end of last season. With the Cincinnati Bengals holding the No 1 overall NFL Draft pick and almost a lock to take LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with it, Dalton will likely be available.
Dalton, 32, began his career as a Bengal fantastically - with a 50-26-1 record in his first five seasons at the helm - but has since dropped off in a big way. With a career passer rating of 87.5 and an 0-4 record in the postseason, does he really have championship-winning upside? Even if he does end up in New England, he isn't the long-term option.
How would this be for a plot twist? Jacksonville Jaguars QB Nick Foles - who handed Brady his most recent Super Bowl loss with the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2017 season - finds himself behind Gardner Minshew in the pecking order despite signing an $88 million deal last summer.
Does he have what it takes to lead a Lombardi-winning team? Yes. But there is the big contract, the terrifying inconsistency and the fact outside of a few elite-level spells in his career, he has mostly been downright bad. This would be a big shock.
Newton has been made available by the Panthers, he only has one year left on his current deal, and is a former league MVP. Surely he is the best option out there? The question marks are to do with fit and Newton's health.
With Brady, the Pats had a static pocket passer with pinpoint accuracy and great decision-making. With Newton, they'd be getting someone who will use his legs, be unpredictable and might struggle to hit his targets. If anyone can create the perfect scheme for a healthy Newton it would be Belichick, but does he want someone more similar to his predecessor?
A third-round pick by New England in 2016, Brissett started a pair of games in his rookie campaign (1-1) while Brady was suspended and backup Jimmy Garoppolo was injured before being traded to the Indianapolis Colts for receiver Phillip Dorsett at the end of it.
In two seasons of replacing Andrew Luck, he had an 11-19 record and threw 31 touchdowns to 13 picks. Although he did sign a two-year, $30 million deal last summer, the Colts have signed Philip Rivers as their new starter. Brissett could be an option for the Pats purely because he has one year of experience there already, but his play doesn't suggest he will be.
Who? Well, if you looked at the Patriots depth chart right now, this young man would be New England's starter. He was a fourth-round pick last season after a college career at Auburn University, but remained on the bench for the majority of the year.
His current NFL stats? Four passes, two completions, 14 yards and one pick six (Jamal Adams took it the other way). Collective minds would be blown if Stidham is the Week One starter in New England, but there's a fair chance he will be given a chance to prove himself.
Unnamed 2020 Rookie
Joe Burrow will be off the board. But he isn't the only quarterback in this year's draft class who is considered a future NFL starter. Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert are likely top 10 picks, but what about Jordan Love? Jacob Eason?
The Patriots hold the 23rd overall selection but they do have firepower with four picks inside the top 100. Will they turn to youth? Might they take a rookie later behind an incoming veteran? There's no doubt they will be active on draft weekend.
Other players will be added to the discussion in the coming days - for as long as it takes for New England to make a move. If Brady ends up going to Tampa Bay, could Jameis Winston find himself heading the opposite way?
Then there's the potential availability of talented backups around the league - although the options are slim. After being made the 10th overall selection by the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, Josh Rosen was subsequently shipped to Miami last year but could be a name to watch. With Ryan Fitzpatrick keeping the youngster on the bench, the Patriots could swoop for a player with a ton of potential.