BOSTON (AP) – Four seasons ago, Patriots coach Bill Belichick entered training camp feeling like he had “the best quarterback situation in the league. Tom Brady was his starter. He had a likely successor in Jimmy Garoppolo developing nicely behind the future Hall of Famer. He even had a capable third option in , who had proven himself the previous season when he stepped in to start two games while Brady was serving his four-game “Deflategate” suspension.
Then, just like that, it was gone.
Belichick traded Brissett to the Colts at the end of training camp in 2017 and, the following month shipped Garoppolo to the.
“It’s just not sustainable given how things areup the trio at the time.
Four seasons later, the Patriots’ quarterback situation is in the spotlight.
It’s been a year since Brady departed in free agency to join theBuccaneers. As he gears up to defend the title he won this past season, his former team enters the draft, still looking to figure out his long-term replacement. The Patriots spent big and filled several holes during the first wave of free agency. The flurry of moves did include re-signing quarterback Cam Newton after he led New England to a 7-9 record in 2020. New England since 2008. But the one-year, $1.5 million base contract Newton inked indicates that the Patriots are still hunting for a franchise QB.
To no one’s surprise, Belichick remains coy about his draft plans.
“Honestly, I’m not that concerned what the general trends and all that is,” he said. “Just trying to help our team and find the best methods we can to make our team as competitive as we can, whatever that entails, and there’s certainly a lot of chapters in that book, a lot of different ways to do it.”
ON THE CLOCK
The Patriots hold ten picks, including the 15th overall. So if he chooses, Belichick has plenty of assets to trade up and go after a highly-rated member of this year’s quarterback class, such as Alabama’s Mac Jones or North Dakota State’s.
Robert Kraft said the spending spree recently this offseason wasn’t about Brady earning a seventh Super Bowl ring elsewhere as much as the Patriots seizing an opportunity to improve. That extend to the draft as well, he said.
“In the end, if you want to have a good, consistently winning football team, you can’t do it in free agency,” Kraft said. “You have to do it through the draft because that’s when you’re able to get people of great talent, whether it’s Willie McGinest or Tom Brady, you get them at a price where you can build the team and be competitive.”
Belichick has drafted ten quarterbacks since selecting Brady 199th overall in 2000. Of those ten picks, Garoppolo was the highest chosen, taken in the second round and 62nd overall in 2014. So the idea of the Patriots coach even potentially using aon the position naturally has drawn intrigue.
Belichick called the quarterback crop “an interesting group,” but he isn’t tipping his hand about what it would take to trade up into theto be chosen.
“A lot of it is fluid, but there are certainly those scenarios worth going through as exercises to think about and prepare,” he said. “I’d say, more often than not, the ones you go through don’t happen. It’s usually something adifferent. But, you never know.”
The Patriots have already addressed some of their holes on defense, including adding defensive back Jalen Mills. But they might not be done tweaking the secondary.
Cornerback Jason McCourty, a solid contributor in New England the past two seasons, remains a free agent. The future of 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore is also uncertain as he enters the final year of his five-year contract.
So if the Patriots don’t move at quarterback in the first round, they could use theII or South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn.