2020 Pats: QB Edition

NomarsFool

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Football issues/fit aside, I have absolutely no problem with bringing in a veteran on a low salary, who puts up great numbers, and leaves as a free agent for three reasons:

1) We got great production for little money
2) When he leaves after putting up great numbers we get a compensatory draft pick

I don't really see the downside here. BB would have him (or anyone else for that matter) in TC and would be able to evaluate whether that player or JS would be the best fit.
 

streeter88

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I was about to write that having Cam Newton or any veteran in the Pats QB competition would not be a bad thing.

Then I realized that in a year where OTAs and training camp might be abbreviated due to CV there would be too many QBs competing for too few reps, therefore likely a suboptimal solution.
 

DourDoerr

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+1. If he's healthy and signing a very team-friendly contract, Newton's not going anywhere that won't give him a guarantee - or at least the assumption - that he'll be the starter on opening day. Starting is the only way he can build up value and score the following season. Apologies to Hill, but Newton wants Brees money.
 

bsj

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+1. If he's healthy and signing a very team-friendly contract, Newton's not going anywhere that won't give him a guarantee - or at least the assumption - that he'll be the starter on opening day. Starting is the only way he can build up value and score the following season. Apologies to Hill, but Newton wants Brees money.
Winston May be more likely to do a one year “prove it” deal (although I don’t think we’d want him)
 

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Thanks for posting. It makes me think that BB let TB go because it was time to see what Stidham is capable of. I'd much rather find out the answer to that question than to bring in a guy with miles on the tires and question marks about his performance.
 

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Thanks for posting. It makes me think that BB let TB go because it was time to see what Stidham is capable of. I'd much rather find out the answer to that question than to bring in a guy with miles on the tires and question marks about his performance.
Other than drafting another QB to start this year - which is certainly possible depending on what Belichick thinks of Stidham - is there really any other option given the Patriots cap situation? And I understand guys will be cut and deals restructured but there doesn't seem like any room for anyone else. It would be very unlike Belichick to not have planned for this. My guess is he likes Stidham enough to start him.
 

Shaky Walton

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I hope the Pats do not draft a QB in any of the early rounds. I’d rather they used the picks on their several areas of need and go all in on Stidham, at least for the upcoming season. Taking a QB early could undermine Stidham, as well. Going with Stidham and using a high pick on a QB isn’t exactly a vote of confidence. Not that I expect Stidham to melt in that instance but I don’t see an early QB pick as helpful to him.

All that said, if Belichick isn’t in fact bullish on Stidham — and all indications to me are that he is a believer in Stidham’s potential — then he should be all means bring in some competition.
 

Cellar-Door

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Other than drafting another QB to start this year - which is certainly possible depending on what Belichick thinks of Stidham - is there really any other option given the Patriots cap situation? And I understand guys will be cut and deals restructured but there doesn't seem like any room for anyone else. It would be very unlike Belichick to not have planned for this. My guess is he likes Stidham enough to start him.
There are a lot of QBs without clear landing spots, so yes there are definitely other options in that some QBs who have been NFL starters with varying degrees of success are going to be in a spot of not making big money. My guess is that Bellichick is fine going into the season with Stidham though.
 

Harry Hooper

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Other than drafting another QB to start this year - which is certainly possible depending on what Belichick thinks of Stidham - is there really any other option given the Patriots cap situation? And I understand guys will be cut and deals restructured but there doesn't seem like any room for anyone else. It would be very unlike Belichick to not have planned for this. My guess is he likes Stidham enough to start him.
As noted upthread, Bortles got $1 million from the Rams last season to be the backup QB. I'd put the chance of BB bringing in another cheap veteran QB at about 30%.
 

Captaincoop

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I hope the Pats do not draft a QB in any of the early rounds. I’d rather they used the picks on their several areas of need and go all in on Stidham, at least for the upcoming season. Taking a QB early could undermine Stidham, as well. Going with Stidham and using a high pick on a QB isn’t exactly a vote of confidence. Not that I expect Stidham to melt in that instance but I don’t see an early QB pick as helpful to him.

All that said, if Belichick isn’t in fact bullish on Stidham — and all indications to me are that he is a believer in Stidham’s potential — then he should be all means bring in some competition.
Belichick isn't a "vote of confidence" guy. He'll do what he thinks is best for the team and not worry about Stidham's feelings.

If he picks a QB early it's because he thinks that guy can be better than Stidham.
 

Super Nomario

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Belichick isn't a "vote of confidence" guy. He'll do what he thinks is best for the team and not worry about Stidham's feelings.

If he picks a QB early it's because he thinks that guy can be better than Stidham.
Belichick also just believes in investing in QB. He took Rohan Davey in the 4th after Brady's first Super Bowl. He took Kevin O'Connell in the third after Brady's 2007 season. Hell, he took Brady even though they had three other QBs, including Bledsoe on a mega deal.

Even if Belichick believes in Stidham, there's a long- term backup need with Hoyer and Kessler free agents after the season.
 

Shaky Walton

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Yeah, he may not be a vote of confidence guy but it's not all or nothing. This is a reasonably unique situation. Second year player following a legend. Team with a bunch of serious holes, especially on offense. In my view, using draft capital on a QB in one of the early rounds this season would be profoundly wasteful and could have the side detriment of sending a negative message to his young QB.

Taking a QB in the 4th round isn't what I'm referring to and taking KOC when Brady was already a multiple SB winner isn't either.

Again, if Bill isn't really sold on Stidham or just isn't all that confident about him, that's totally different. But if Bill thinks he very well might have his next QB, I would much rather see him address early in the draft their needs at TE, WR, LB, PK and OL, and wherever else he perceives a need. If Stidham isn't the answer, it's probably a bridge year anyway, and they will have substantially more salary cap money next year to deal with QB or they can draft one then.
 
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DourDoerr

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At the risk of sounding like a rabid Newton booster which I'm not although I think he's an intriguing option if Stidham isn't ready to go, BSJ had an article on the case for and against the Pats signing Newton. It's behind a paywall, but it quoted Football Outsiders and I'll include that here:

4. Newton was really good — as in, playing the best football of his career — the last time he was healthy in 2018: I’m going to let our friends at FootballOutsiders.com take this part, because they’re way smarter than I am. From their 2019 Almanac:

"The easy explanation for the reversal (6-2 to 7-9 in 2018) is Cam Newton’s declining health. That Week 10 Thursday night road trip to Pittsburgh shortened Newton’s recovery period between games, vital for the quarterback as he nursed a lingering shoulder issue that had first appeared on the injury report after the Eagles game. Newton never looked the same after the blowout loss, and the powder keg offense became more of a powder puff. After four straight weeks above 29.0% DVOA, the Panthers pass offense would not reach that level once between Week 9 and Kyle Allen’s Week 17 start against the Saints backups. Newton’s arm strength, already in question after Taylor Heinicke had been put in for a Hail Mary attempt against the Ravens, became a glaring problem: his DVOA on deep passes declined precipitously, from 42.3% in Weeks 1-9 to -79.5% from Week 10 to Week 15, and he did not complete a single pass over 25 air yards in the final six games of his season (0- for-7, one interception). His overall passing DVOA declined from 13.2% in Weeks 1-9 to -18.7% in Weeks 10-15; to put that in perspective, it was almost exactly the difference in passing efficiency between Andrew Luck and Blake Bortles. Newton was finally deactivated for the final two games of the season, had shoulder surgery in January, and the team hopes to have him back at full health for 2019.

If they can get their quarterback healthy and keep him that way, last season provides compelling evidence that the results could be spectacular. As mentioned above, before the shoulder injury sapped him of his arm strength, Newton’s 13.2% passing DVOA would have been comfortably the best of his career. His previous best, 7.6%, was enough for him to win the league MVP as the Panthers reached the Super Bowl. The four games from Weeks 6-9, in which he averaged 51.2% DVOA, was the third-best passing stretch of Newton’s professional career, comparable to any four-game slice from that MVP campaign. (His best stretch was Weeks 11-14 of 2012, his second season, when he averaged an astounding 64.8% passing DVOA.) When Newton opined before the Week 13 disaster against Tampa Bay that he was playing the best football of his career, he was not without justification."


Bedard also cites his numbers against the Pats - 2-0, 41 of 57, 6td to 1int - and BB's propensity to remember past good performance by opponents as well as Newton claiming the late uptick is due to his now "knowing what I'm doing." The cons went to attitude and learning scheme. Again, health, salary, etc. would need to align for a signing to be done, but BB taking on Newton wouldn't surprise me nearly as much as it would have a month ago.

Pros/Cons of Newton
 

Cellar-Door

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Yeah, Cam Newton is probably not coming here because he'll get starter money elsewhere, but he's the best QB on the market, and the odds of Stidham even sniffing the peak of healthy Cam are pretty low. There are reasons Cam is unlikely to be the Patriots QB next year, but his skill level when healthy isn't one of them.
 

E5 Yaz

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It won't be surprising at all if he goes QB at any point.
Why would anyone think it would be surprising?

2000 Brady
2002 Davey
2003 Kingsbury
2005 Cassel
2008 O'Connell
2010 Zac Robinson
2014 JG
2016 Brissett
2018 Etling
2019 Stidham

Even though it's only 10-10, I'd wager that's in the upper third of NFL teams over the same time period

This story includes a chart for the years 1999-2016

 

nighthob

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I can see them passing on a draft QB this year only because I can't see them carrying three QBs with all the holes they have to fill and I doubt they'd want Stidham being backed up by a late round pick. Unless it's someone like Khalil Tate that they intend to move to WR.
 

DourDoerr

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Why would anyone think it would be surprising?

2000 Brady
2002 Davey
2003 Kingsbury
2005 Cassel
2008 O'Connell
2010 Zac Robinson
2014 JG
2016 Brissett
2018 Etling
2019 Stidham

Even though it's only 10-10, I'd wager that's in the upper third of NFL teams over the same time period

This story includes a chart for the years 1999-2016

I remember all of them except Zac Robinson. Did he even make it TO camp?
 

Saints Rest

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I hope the Pats do not draft a QB in any of the early rounds. I’d rather they used the picks on their several areas of need and go all in on Stidham, at least for the upcoming season. Taking a QB early could undermine Stidham, as well. Going with Stidham and using a high pick on a QB isn’t exactly a vote of confidence. Not that I expect Stidham to melt in that instance but I don’t see an early QB pick as helpful to him.

All that said, if Belichick isn’t in fact bullish on Stidham — and all indications to me are that he is a believer in Stidham’s potential — then he should be all means bring in some competition.
I think the importance of your first paragraph -- the Pats needs elsewhere -- makes the second paragraph -- BB's view of Stidham -- somewhat moot. IOW, I think it's more important, regardless of who is QB, to bolster the other areas.

I think a QB remains the most important position, but I'm not sure that the difference between a Stidham and a Newton (or Dalton or Bridgewater) is enough to make it worth having another year of dreck at TE and WR. If you told me the Pats could have Lamar Jackson (or Mahomes or Wilson) at QB next year, and another year of dreck at TE and WR, I'd say "yeah, do that."
 

snowmanny

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I can see them passing on a draft QB this year only because I can't see them carrying three QBs with all the holes they have to fill and I doubt they'd want Stidham being backed up by a late round pick. Unless it's someone like Khalil Tate that they intend to move to WR.
Although we have been spoiled by Brady's durability. Remember during the suspension both the backups got injured. It's easier to go with two QBs when #1 only leaves a game due to injury twice in 19 years.
 

E5 Yaz

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Although we have been spoiled by Brady's durability. Remember during the suspension both the backups got injured. It's easier to go with two QBs when #1 only leaves a game due to injury twice in 19 years.
They carried 3 most of last season
 

Bowser

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I'd be surprised if the Pats draft a QB because (a) they have significant needs elsewhere, and (b) unless they get extremely lucky, as was the case in this recent mock, then they'll be looking at mid-round QBs like Fromm, Hurts, Montez, etc. -- players who profile much like Stidham and Kessler. Kessler is 26, was a mid 3rd round pick in 2016, and has a career passer rating of 83.7. Point is, we already have two Fromms on the team. Do we really need a third?
 

Cellar-Door

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I'd be surprised if the Pats draft a QB because (a) they have significant needs elsewhere, and (b) unless they get extremely lucky, as was the case in this recent mock, then they'll be looking at mid-round QBs like Fromm, Hurts, Montez, etc. -- players who profile much like Stidham and Kessler. Kessler is 26, was a mid 3rd round pick in 2016, and has a career passer rating of 83.7. Point is, we already have two Fromms on the team. Do we really need a third?
Fromm is very different than the other 2. Montez has better size than Stidham (who has better size and athleticism than Kessler) and is a much better athlete. Hurts is a borderline elite athlete though smaller. There are good arguments for why you would add one of those 2, they have much higher ceilings than Kessler, and arguably highers ceilings than Stidham.
 

JM3

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I remember all of them except Zac Robinson. Did he even make it TO camp?
He played in the 1st, 2nd & 4th preseason games as the 3rd QB behind Brady & Hoyer. He went 6 for 15 for 71 yards & was cut on September 4, 2010. He kicked around the outskirts of the NFL until 2014.

Last February he was named the Rams assistant QB coach. This year he's scheduled to be the assistant wide receiver coach. Not sure that he qualifies for inclusion on the BB coaching tree.
 

Bowser

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Fromm is very different than the other 2. Montez has better size than Stidham (who has better size and athleticism than Kessler) and is a much better athlete. Hurts is a borderline elite athlete though smaller. There are good arguments for why you would add one of those 2, they have much higher ceilings than Kessler, and arguably highers ceilings than Stidham.
My point is it seems to me we already have two mid-round, reasonably young C+ prospects on the QB depth chart. Why add another? Unless you're looking for a different style of QB (e.g., Montez, Hurts) or a clearly superior prospect (Herbert) miraculously falls in your lap.

Note: I'm pretty optimistic about Stidham.
 

DourDoerr

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He played in the 1st, 2nd & 4th preseason games as the 3rd QB behind Brady & Hoyer. He went 6 for 15 for 71 yards & was cut on September 4, 2010. He kicked around the outskirts of the NFL until 2014. Last February he was named the Rams assistant QB coach. This year he's scheduled to be the assistant wide receiver coach. Not sure that he qualifies for inclusion on the BB coaching tree.
Thanks. Good for him - sounds like he's a scrapper. Unless he coached under BB, I'd guess he'll be on McVay's tree - which means he'll probably get a HC job mid-season (at least that might've been the case pre-Super Bowl LIII). ;)
 

Cellar-Door

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My point is it seems to me we already have two mid-round, reasonably young C+ prospects on the QB depth chart. Why add another? Unless you're looking for a different style of QB (e.g., Montez, Hurts) or a clearly superior prospect (Herbert) miraculously falls in your lap.

Note: I'm pretty optimistic about Stidham.
I don't think Kessler is a real prospect. He is what he is, a borderline backup, I just don't see the tools for him to be an NFL starter, the arm strength isn't there in particular. I doubt the Patriots (or anyone else) views him as someone who will ever be a starter. The idea is, if you get to the right pick and one of the higher ceiling guys is on the board it makes sense to replace Hoyer or Kessler with him, especially when you don't really know what you have in Stidham until he starts facing real opponents.
 

E5 Yaz

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My point is it seems to me we already have two mid-round, reasonably young C+ prospects on the QB depth chart. Why add another? Unless you're looking for a different style of QB (e.g., Montez, Hurts) or a clearly superior prospect (Herbert) miraculously falls in your lap.

Note: I'm pretty optimistic about Stidham.
That you're "pretty optimistic" about a guy you call a C+ prospect leads me to three questions:

1. What makes you optimistic?
2. How, based on extremely SSS, did you arrive at a C+ grade?
3. Is the C+ his ceiling based on your optimism?
 

Bowser

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That you're "pretty optimistic" about a guy you call a C+ prospect leads me to three questions:

1. What makes you optimistic?
2. How, based on extremely SSS, did you arrive at a C+ grade?
3. Is the C+ his ceiling based on your optimism?
C+ was my unscientific way of saying Stidham is a 4th round pick who's yet to prove he can start in the league. It was shorthand for "he's a wildcard" ... and so drafting another mid-round wildcard QB didn't make sense to me.

I don't actually see him as a C+ prospect ... probably closer to a B+, but I'm hesitant to say this because I don't know shit. I like his career TD/INT ratio (36/11) and PCT (64%) at Auburn. I like that he's a very good athlete with a strong arm. I like that he seems to have good footwork. He could be a Jeff Garcia, or Andy Dalton, or better than Andy Dalton.
 

SMU_Sox

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I’m curious who the mid-round QB they would target. You have the top 2: Burrow and Tua, then Herbert and Love or Love and Herbert. Hurts, Eason, and Fromm are probably the day 2 and I say probably because Hurts and Eason have some first round buzz.

Eason is a traditional big arm pocket passing prospect. Fromm is undersized, lacks arm strength, but is cerebral and usually makes good decisions. I don’t think playing outdoors in cold weather is a great proposition for Fromm. Hurts is a modern QB prospect with fantastic mobility and a good arm but he struggles with accuracy, touch, processing speed, and his surprisingly throwing on the run. Hurts also takes way too many hits as a runner. Lamar would avoid the big hits even as a prospect. Hurts is not Lamar 2.0 but he does remind me a bit of Dak stylistically. Hurts also is a leader and someone who has experience in two different systems. I don’t think any of them are great fits but of the three I would take a risk on Hurts.

The problem is it is unlikely that any of them will be available at 87 but none are worth it at 23. Without a second round pick and with so many needs it would make more sense to me to take a higher ceiling guy on day 3. Our own Mascho has looked at the day 3 candidates and identified his two or three favorites: Anthony Gordon, Cole McDonald, and maybe Jake Luton.
 

Shaky Walton

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I think the importance of your first paragraph -- the Pats needs elsewhere -- makes the second paragraph -- BB's view of Stidham -- somewhat moot. IOW, I think it's more important, regardless of who is QB, to bolster the other areas.

I think a QB remains the most important position, but I'm not sure that the difference between a Stidham and a Newton (or Dalton or Bridgewater) is enough to make it worth having another year of dreck at TE and WR. If you told me the Pats could have Lamar Jackson (or Mahomes or Wilson) at QB next year, and another year of dreck at TE and WR, I'd say "yeah, do that."
I strongly agree that the main point is their other needs. I don't think many QBs, if any, could be consistently successful with the offense Tom Brady had to work with at the end of last season. The line, as pointed out above, should be better but as of now, the Byrd-Dorsett "trade" should help somewhat but it's simply not enough at WR/TE/FB. I think that the RBs remain sufficient but Sony Michel's sophomore season was clearly not what the Pats need in 2020. If he's again a big part of the running back group, Stidham will need more. That ties back to TE/FB/OL, but Michel still bears a lot of the blame, I suspect.
 

BaseballJones

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The run game last year was hampered big-time by the following losses (and we've been over this before):

- LT Brown...couldn't afford to keep him, but he was an absolute *monster* in run blocking in 2019.
- C Andrews...top-level blocker and the one who made all the line calls...his presence is important for unit cohesion.
- TE Gronkowski...maybe one of the best blocking tight ends in NFL history.
- TE Allen...not much of a receiver, but an outstanding, first-level run blocking TE.
- FB Develin...elite blocker at FB.

That's *five* absolutely ELITE blockers at their positions, ALL of them suffering from a massive, massive downgrade.

- Brown to Wynn (who was fine as a rookie, but played only half the season...the turn table that they featured at LT when Wynn wasn't in was terrible).
- Andrews to Karras (Karras is fine as a backup, and might even be a legitimate starting C in the league, but he's a significant drop-off from Andrews).
- Gronk and Allen to Izzo and Lacosse (I mean, this isn't even a fair thing to put these guys in the same sentence).
- Develin to Johnson to nobody to Roberts (again, from elite to nobody to a guy who threw a couple of good blocks but isn't in the same universe as Develin...yes I know Roberts caught a long TD pass, which was cool).

To lose any one of those would have had an effect. To lose ALL of them and have ALL of them suffer massive drop-offs in ability and effectiveness was just disastrous.

As for Sony....from: https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/sony-michel/

Here's a comparison of his 2018 vs 2019 performance in some key areas...

Yards Created per Carry (yards generated above and beyond what was blocked)
2018: 1.85 (#6)
2019: 1.24 (#30)

Juke Rate
2018: 23.1% (#33)
2019: 19.3% (#40)

Average Defenders in the Box
2018: 7.0 (#21)
2019: 6.9 (#9)

True Yards Per Carry (factors out runs of 10+ yards....actual YPC will be in parenthesis)
2018: 4.3 (4.5) (#32)
2019: 3.6 (3.7) (#54)

Breakaway Run Rate
2018: 3.3% (#43)
2019: 2.4% (#43)

So Sony clearly wasn't as good. The blocking for him was much worse, but even Sony performed at a lower level than in 2018. He made fewer guys miss, broke fewer tackles, and did so against fewer guys in the box on average. He generated fewer yards on his own, never mind what wasn't blocked for him. If you take the Yards Created Per Carry number and combine it with the Yards Per Carry number (not the TYPC), you see:

YPC:
2018: 4.5
2019: 3.7

YCPC:
2018: 1.85
2019: 1.24

Do some math and you find that Sony's blockers got him:

2018: 2.65 yards
2019: 2.46 yards

So the blocking was worse, but Sony was also much worse.

That all needs to (and ought to) change in 2020, or whenever the hell they play football again.
 

Shaky Walton

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Damn, that's one impressive post. @BaseballJones . I truly appreciate the work you put into it and it confirms my basic points -- the run game lost a lot of critical pieces that are necessary for it to function well and Sony himself needs to be a lot better. This was perhaps the ultimate example of a player not rising to the challenge.

I remember being surprised at times at how many chances Michel was getting to right himself when it appeared like there was something about him -- conditioning perhaps -- that wasn't likely to improve materially. Not that he didn't have some bright spot moments that made me more optimistic; he did. I also get that BB can't just give up on him and wasn't about to do that last year. But damn, he had so many first down carries that went for limited yardage or worse that made the QB's job more difficult, and my eyes could see that it wasn't always about the blocking or scheme.
 

SMU_Sox

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We've heard some buzz about how the Patriots want to use a more mobile guy at QB. Adding to @BaseballJones a QB who is a running threat helps the run-game too. Stidham has good scrambling ability. Back in 2015 he was ranked the 2nd best dual-threat QB in the country. Jumping to this years draft if any of the day 2 guys make sense in that regard it would be Hurts. Justin Herbert will be long gone, probably, by 23 but he is another guy who when he actually was allowed to run did so very well.

With Stidham, Jules, Harry, etc. you do wonder if they don't plan on playing a bit of who is going to get the carry game like how the Rams used the threat of the jet sweep in 2018. It's not going to be a staple by any means but just another strategy to nickel and dime wins.
 

BaseballJones

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Interesting comment here at cbssports.com's mock draft: https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/news/2020-nfl-mock-draft-redskins-take-tua-chase-young-falls-to-giants-chargers-trade-up-for-herbert/

"A.J. Epenesa - Edge, Iowa. Epenesa's talent and versatility make him the type of player that should appeal to Bill Belichick. You know, assuming New England doesn't trade down. Also, I'm not convinced the Pats will be taking a QB early. They took Jarret Stidham last year knowing full well that Brady could leave after the 2019 season."

Ok so this meshes with my theory that I thought was a hot take two weeks ago but which may now be merely lukewarm. The theory was this: Belichick knew there'd come a point in time where he'd prefer to move on from Brady, but he didn't want to have to trade or cut him. So by agreeing with Brady to structure his last contract with terms that favored the team in 2018-19 (which netted them two playoff appearances and a SB championship), but which allowed Brady to be a free agent at the end of it, it gave Belichick his "out". That is, he knew that come 2020, he wasn't going to pay Brady what other teams would, and he probably thought that Brady might move on. If he was willing to take a lot less to stay with NE, BB would have been fine with that. But he did NOT want to pay Brady market rate as a 43 year old.

So Brady moves on, and Belichick begins anew with a different QB.

Now, if that theory is correct, then BB drafted in 2019 a guy that he thought could be Brady's replacement. He couldn't use a first round pick on that guy because he needed the draft to procure help for Brady. Harry was the pick, and it didn't pan out in 2019, but that was the idea anyway. So he gets a guy he's liked for a long time in Stidham, who BB knows has all the tools, but just needs refinement. And BB figures he can bring Stidham that refinement.

This comment on cbssports.com makes me think I'm not completely crazy. That Stidham is the guy they wanted under the circumstances to replace Brady, so he was drafted specifically for that purpose. And be ready as early as 2020.

Now that may all be a gigantic pile of BS. Or it might be true but BB may have misjudged Stidham or their own ability to develop him, and it may be a disaster. But it does give me confidence moving forward that this might have been the plan all along, and if so, I think they have a pretty good idea of what they're doing here.
 

BigJimEd

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Brady was in the final year of his contract at the time of the draft so yes they knew it might be his final year.
 

BaseballJones

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Brady was in the final year of his contract at the time of the draft so yes they knew it might be his final year.
No...I mean that BB expected him to move on. OBVIOUSLY they knew that this would be the final year of his contract. But I, for one, expected him to stay. But perhaps BB expected him to move on.
 

BigJimEd

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I know what you are saying but we'll likely never know.

Fact is Brady was under contract for one year. They hadn't made an extension yet so of course Belichick knew it was a possibility Brady wouldn't be back and off course he would be planning for the possibility.

Heck, many would argue he's been planning for the possibility for close to a decade.
 

DourDoerr

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Jeff Howe from The Athletic (paywall) did an article citing a source saying Pats have no interest in Newton nor Dalton. Doesn't mention if there's a link to last week's Curran report, but if not, that's 2 sources (still pretty thin) saying no interest while giving the complimentary reports on Stidham a lot of emphasis. I like that JS is best positioned to take full advantage of the young (and cheap) receivers. If the OL is healthy, his protection should be good and I'd expect they'd add 2 solid blocking TE's. They'll probably mirror a lot of the attack that early TB used with allowances made for the strengths and weaknesses of JS compared to TB.

There was a chart online and it outlined by position the Pats players signed after 2021. There were 11 total with the vast majority on O. This draft simply has to be D heavy so what Stidham has to work with now is likely what he'll be working with this season.

If the new era is finally here, it's an exciting unknown.