The New England Patriots are exploring all possible avenues when it comes to the quarterback position, a report in The Athletic states.
Bill Belichick’s side went with former MVP Cam Newton in their first season without Tom Brady, but the results have been far from satisfactory. They missed out on a playoffs spot for the first time in 12 years and finished the season with an abysmal 7-9 record.
The poor performances on the field, and the fact that Cam Newton will soon become a free agent, press the Patriots to find a quality quarterback before the season starts. And if The Athletic’s report is on the money, Bellichick and co have been quite busy recently.
According to Jeff Howe from The Athletic, the Patriots have sounded out the likes of Matthew Stafford and Carson Wentz but were put off by their financial demands.
Bellichick is also said to have discussed a host of other high-profile names with the Patriots’ board. These included one of the most in-demand quarterbacks that will likely be on the market this offseason, Deshaun Watson from the Texans, as well as Sam Darnold from the Jets, Marcus Mariota from the Raiders, and even 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Patriots have ample salary-cap space to afford any of these players, but the organization’s bosses will have to be ready to pay up to get them.
The Patriots can also explore other avenues and can once again go with a free agent. Their shortlist of free-agent quarterbacks reportedly includes the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton, Mitchell Trubisky, Jameis Watson, and Tyrod Taylor.
Can Continue With Newton
Of course, the Patriots also have the option of continuing with Cam Newton, who earned close to $4 millionplaying for them in 2020. Should they decide to do that, they will hope that he continues to do the same damage as a rusher as he did in the last season.
However, they will also demand that he improves his passing game considerably too. He has been inconsistent as a passer, and he will have to throw much more accurately week in week out if he is signed on for one more year.
Can Pick a Quarterback in the Draft
Working in Newton’s favor is the fact that the Patriots have the 15th overall pick in the draft. It means that if they opt to select a young quarterback in April’s draft, they could indeed get a quality player. However, that player will also likely need a veteran alongside him to make the transition to the NFL as seamlessly as possible.
If that’s the case, there aren’t many better options than Newton to take a young player under their wing so the Patriots might come out with a one-year extension to his contract.
However, to expect that Newton will get anywhere near his current $4 billion in earnings would be over-optimistic and highly unlikely, to say the least.