The New England Patriots are just one of the current teams searching for a quarterback for 2021. There are many options the Patriots can take and here are a couple of them:
Keeping Cam Newton
Cam Newton did not have a great first season with the Patriots as everyone anticipated he would. Newton struggled in the passing game, which the Patriots have been so good at for several seasons. However, Newton broke records and was one of the best rushing quarterbacks in New England Patriots history.
Newton’s future for the Patriots is up on the air. He only signed a one-year deal and the Patriots have not approached him for a new deal yet. This means that Newton will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. If it was up to Newton, he does not want to leave New England. When asked if he wants to stay, he said he is tired of switching teams and would love another chance with Belichick and the Patriots.
“Yes. Hell yes! I’m getting tired of changing teams,” said Newton to ESPN. “I am at a point in my career where I know way more than I did last year. You’re asking me, ‘Would I go back’ Yes, I would go back”
Bill Belichick has plenty of respect for Newton, however he would like to see his options first before deciding on who will be his starting quarterback. Newton is willing to stay another year to improve on his mistakes from 2020, however the Patriots must review all their options before making a decision on keeping Newton for 2021.
Bringing Back Jimmy Garoppolo
One of the biggest mistakes the Patriots have done was trading away quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo was drafted by the Patriots in 2014 from Eastern Illinois University. In 2016, Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season due to the Patriots’ deflategate scandal during the 2014 NFL playoffs. Garoppolo was the starting quarterback for the first two games of the 2015 season and helped the Patriots start a four game winning streak until Brady came back.
The Patriots traded Garoppolo in the middle of the 2017 season to the San Francisco 49ers. Garoppolo took over as starting quarterback in the last few weeks of the season and led the 49ers to a five game winning streak. In 2019 Garoppolo led the 49ers to an impressive 13-3 season, an NFC Championship, and a trip to the Super Bowl.
The Patriots have already put a call in for Garoppolo to the 49ers and expressed their interest in bringing him back to the team. Since losing on the race for Wentz and Stafford, the Patriots would love to make a move for Garoppolo this offseason. He is already familiar working with Belichick and the passing game, so bringing him back to New England would be great for the Patriots.
However, the 49ers may decide against trading Garoppolo if they cannot make a deal with Deshaun Watson. The 49ers love Garoppolo, however he has been plagued with injuries in the last few seasons and they may move on to a quarterback who is healthier and reliable.
Make a move for Marcus Mariota
Marcus Mariota has had a rocky last few seasons in the NFL. He was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2015 from Oregon. Mariota spent four full seasons as starting quarterback, where he only appeared in one playoff appearance. In the middle of 2019 season Mariota came down with an injury and was replaced by Ryan Tannehill.
Tannehill ended up taking over as starting quarterback for the Titans as he led the team all the way to the AFC Championship game. Mariota was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason to be Derek Carr’s backup and only appeared in one game in 2020.
The Raiders are sill keen on keeping Carr for 2021, therefore they are open to take offers for Mariota. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapopport, it will be surprising to see Mariota still on the Raiders after the offseason.
“Mariota has generated trade interest. And based on my knowledge right now, I would be very surprised if Marcus Mariota is on the Raiders for the 2021 season. The Raiders have gotten some offers for him; it sounds like there’s probably been enough interest in Mariota… as far as a potential trade to where he is now likely to not be on the team,” he said according to CBS Boston.
Because the Patriots may be too low in the draft to get a top quarterback, their only option is to acquire a veteran quarterback. Mariota has years of experience in the NFL and has experience playing in the playoffs. In Mariota’s four full seasons as starting quarterback, he totaled 12,004 passing yards, 69 touchdown passes and an average of 63.5 percent completion rate. He would be a good option for the Patriots to restart his career, if they fail to secure Garoppolo or fail to grab a good quarterback in the draft.
Drafting a quarterback
The Patriots will have the No. 15 pick for the 2021 NFL draft in April. They do not have a high enough pick to get a top notch quarterback; however they can either trade for a high pick quarterback or hope a good quarterback slips lower in the draft than expected.
One option for the Patriots is Justin Fields from Ohio State. Fields is 6-foot-3 junior out of Ohio State. In 2019 Fields was a Heisman trophy finalist and finished the season with 41 touchdown passes and 3,273 passing yards. If the Patriots are lucky, they can grab fields at the 14th pick or potentially trade for him.
Another potential quarterback from the draft is Trey Lance from North Dakota State. He won both the FCS Jerry Rice and Walter Payton awards in 2019 as a freshman while also winning Most Valuable Offensive freshman for North Dakota State. In his first season with North Dakota Lance totaled 2,786 passing yards and 28 touchdown passes. Lance is 6-foot-4 and so far is undefeated so far in his college career. There is a possibility Lance will be available by the time it’s the Patriots’ turn to select a player. Lance would be a great fit for the Patriots to start off fresh with a young face quarterback and possibly turn him into a franchise quarterback.