2021 Pats: QB Options

Mugsy's Jock

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2021 FREE AGENTS (MULTI-YEAR STARTER POSSIBILITY)
Dak Prescott (I'd go ahead and assume he stays in Dallas)
Jimmy Garoppolo (if cut by 49ers)
Mitchell Trubisky
Phillip Rivers (RETIRED)

2021 FREE AGENTS (ONE-YEAR BRIDGE / LOW CEILING)
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Jacoby Brissett
Jameis Winston
Cam Newton
Tyrod Taylor
Andy Dalton
CJ Beathard
Nick Mullens (restricted)
Josh Rosen (exclusive restricted)
Dwayne Haskins (signed by Steelers)
Taylor Heineken

2021 TRADE POSSIBILITIES
DeShaun Watson (a man can dream)
Matthew Stafford (traded to Rams)
Derek Carr
Sam Darnold
Jimmy Garoppolo (also a FA/cut possibility)
Gardner Minshew
Matt Ryan
Carson Wentz
Marcus Mariota
Nick Foles
Jared Goff (traded to Lions)

AND THEN THERE'S...
Jarrett Stidham

2021 DRAFT FIRST ROUNDERS: YEAR ONE STARTER POSSIBILITIES
Trevor Lawrence
Justin Fields
Zach Wilson

2021 DRAFT FIRST ROUNDERS: PREFER SOME SEASONING, AND A BRIDGE QB
Trey Lance
Mac Jones

TEAMS THAT LIKELY NEED A 2021 QB (current top picks)
Houston Texans (3-67, but would vastly improve position with DeShaun Watson trade)
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1, 1-21)
New York Jets (1-2, 1-27)
Atlanta Falcons (1-4, and may improve as part of Matt Ryan trade)
Denver Broncos (1-10)
San Francisco 49ers (1-14, if trade or cut Jimmy G.)
New England Patriots (1-15)
Chicago Bears (1-20)
Indianapolis Colts (1-18)
Washington Football Team (1-19)
Detroit Lions (1-7, and may improve as part of Matt Stafford trade)
Los Angeles Rams (2-53, if they move on from Goff)


OTHER TEAMS THAT SHOULD START DEVELOPING A 2022 PLAN NOW (current top pick)
Minnesota Vikings (1-13)
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-30)
 
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Mugsy's Jock

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It seems unlikely that at 1-15 the Patriots will pull a September 2021 starter out of the NFL Draft, so that leaves four general potential directions:

1.) Acquire an established QB who is either playoff-caliber (Stafford, Ryan, Jimmy G) or has a high enough ceiling you can dream they might be playoff caliber (Wentz, Trubisky, Darnold)... and draft a QB project in Round 3+. Or maybe Stidham is that project, still.

2.) Trade up to the top five (and possibly top 3?) to get a 2021 blue-chipper. Live with Stidham and a vet scrub on the bench. This doesn't feel very likely to me.

3.) If you see real possibilities for a "second tier" first-round QB, draft and develop him at 1-15 or 2-47 and get a bridge QB to take most of the snaps in 2021.

4.) Stop stressing. Just draft a Hall of Fame QB in the sixth round -- probably around pick #199 by the time comp picks are awarded.

The QB draft options are well-covered in the "Wait, Who?" thread -- curious here to get board opinions on the established vet or one-year bridge possibilities that might be available. I adore Fitz, but a.) could he be playing his way into a multi-year deal?, and b.) his interception proclivities don't feel very Belichickian. Tyrod Taylor actually might fit?

The vets, of course, would come with a variety of more challenging contract situations -- although the Pats should have the cap room to take on some risk. Jimmy G. might offer the best combination of accomplishment and growth potential. Ryan and Stafford are known quantities with reasonable ball security history.
 
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Ale Xander

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I would love to get Stafford or Ryan.
Agreed. Both are top 22 all-time in QBR, young enough (especially Ryan), to still be very productive.

Have to get them a weapon though. We don't really have approaching Megatron or JJ.

Marvin Jones/Stafford combo coming here would be nice.
 

cshea

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Sign a vet and keep taking swings in the draft until something clicks.

I'd be OK with Dalton next year. Of the higher end, maybe-they-get-cut-loose candidates, I'd prefer Jimmy, though his injury issues are worrisome. Ryan and Stafford have higher ceilings but their availability may be less realistic than Jimmy.

Lawrence, Wilson and Fields seem like they will all be off the board when the Patriots pick. The Florida and Alabama kids are being discussed, but I'll let the draft guys who are way smarter than me sort out if it's worth picking one of them in the first round, or if they should take a non-QB talent in round one and try to grab a flier QB in the later rounds.
 

Mystic Merlin

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I would love to get Stafford or Ryan.
This is a viable scenario. Rumblings have been that Stafford wants out of Detroit, and the warmth embrace of a stable organization that doesn’t turnover its offensive coordinator every few years.

My concern with him is, simply, that I’m not sure his contract - you are devoting 25 and 27M in cap dollars the next two years off you don't extend/restructure his deal - is worth his production. He’s a proven, mid-level starter with obvious arm talent, but most teams who devote almost 20 percent of their cap dollars to a QB who isn’t a difference maker tend to regret it. I don’t think he’s quite good enough to justify that.


Anyways, Stafford has a ten million roster bonus due in March, so if Detroit trades him it’ll be before they have to pay it out.

I love Ryan, but I don’t see a path there with how much dead money Atlanta would have to assume. And goodness is his contract massive. He’s not Mahomes/Rodgers, so any contract in excess of 30M in annual cap dollars - under what will be a flat or reduced cap next year - scares me.

That being said, the Pats are at the mercy of the alternatives, and do I really prefer trading for Wentz or taking a bridge QB like Fitzpatrick with a young QB behind him that hopefully blossoms? I don’t know, though it is a viable hedge strategy. If you bet big on a QB, you have to be right/the guy better be a difference maker, and of the guys realistically available via FA or trade I don’t see it right now.

EDIT - I almost forgot: NO NO NO NO on Trubisky. A handful of big games against shit pass defenses is not convincing me to hand him a big contract.
 
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Harry Hooper

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What about either of the Vegas QBs? He's easy to overlook, but I believe Bortles will be out there as a FA too.
 

4 6 3 DP

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I think this team would have 10 wins right now with Fitzpatrick on their roster so I'd go there and hopefully get a good prospect in the draft.
 

tims4wins

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Agree on the Ryan / Stafford dreams.

Re: Jimmy G, if he were to end up in NE, it feels like that would happen as a free agent signing as opposed to trade. Easy cut for the Niners and that way the Pats don't have to take on the $20M+ contract if they don't want to. Negative is that if he becomes a free agent you have to compete for his services.
 

Jungleland

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I'm not sure I wouldn't throw big money at Dak and hope he's mad enough about 2020 to actually consider leaving. He's the only guy of the entire list of vets I think might be good enough to be the main reason you're a perennial contender, and it's reasonable to think pending health that he still has room in his ceiling.

As far as the realistic options, the 2020 Miami experience with a QB you're far less likely to commit to starting in year 1 is the most appealing. I agree this relatively bad team is probably not playing meaningless games right now if Fitz had been in Cam's place and the offseason Stidham enthusiasm makes it clear a lot of us want to dream on the next decade long starter.

I have a hard time seeing Detroit and San Francisco moving on this year - too possible either of them is still a medium to long term solution. I'd take either happily unless Bill loves someone in the draft that we can realistically get, but giving up pick value for either AND paying those contracts makes it look like a long shot to me. If for some reason Philly eats the dead money now and outright cuts Wentz he intrigues me a lot as a reclamation project, but not even a little bit under his current contract.
 

Cellar-Door

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This season has made me a lot lower on Matt Ryan than I was. He has been markedly worse without Julio Jones than with him, to a truly wild extent.

I would love Stafford.

I'd be up for giving Jameis a shot (he's a better, younger Fitzpatrick), I'd be interested in Carr or Mariota for the right price, same with a Wentz rebuild (though I bet the price will be too high for Bill) or Darnold (if the Jets don't keep him now that they won't get Lawrence).

I'm out on Jimmy G unless he's dirt cheap, no on Goff who isn't listed but will get shopped, no on Foles or Beathard.
 

nattysez

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What about either of the Vegas QBs? He's easy to overlook, but I believe Bortles will be out there as a FA too.
Unfortunately, it's hard for me to see the Raiders opting-out of the Mariota deal. He's the perfect backup for Carr, and with a new D coordinator, they should be able to make the playoffs next year (though the Chargers improving by replacing their HC is going to make the AFC West a tough division).

It's going to drive this board insane, but I think BB goes relatively cheap again at QB.

I'd be curious to see what Jacoby can bring to the table after starting for a year and then watching Rivers for a year. Jacoby with Fitz as backup "but given every opportunity to compete for the job" sounds about right.
 

lexrageorge

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From Mugsy's list, I've crossed out the ones that I have zero interest in, or are simply unrealistic targets:

2021 FREE AGENTS (MULTI-YEAR STARTER POSSIBILITY)
Dak Prescott (I'll go ahead and assume he stays in Dallas): Crossed out because it's highly unlikely he'll leave Dallas
Phillip Rivers (I'll go ahead and assume he stays in Indianapolis): Crossed out because he will want a good amount of cash to come to NE, and he'll be 40.
Mitchell Trubisky: Crossed out because I think he's terrible.

2021 FREE AGENTS (ONE-YEAR BRIDGE / LOW CEILING)
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Jacoby Brissett
Tyrod Taylor: See Trubisky, Mitchell
Andy Dalton
Cam Newton: The Pats will need an assistant QB coach.
Jameis Winston: I will never, ever see the appeal.
Bryan Hoyer
CJ Beathard
: Realistic ceiling is that of Hoyer; not what the Pats need.
Nick Mullens (restricted): Could be a possibility, but probably not going anywhere.
Josh Rosen (exclusive restricted): Multiple teams have moved on from him the first chance they get. Stay far away.
Dwayne Haskins

2021 TRADE POSSIBILITIES
Carson Wentz
Matthew Stafford
Sam Darnold: Jets will never trade him to the Pats, and he's seen too many ghosts for Belichick.
Jimmy Garoppolo
Gardner Minshew
Matt Ryan
Nick Foles

AND THEN THERE'S...
Jarrett Stidham
Minshew, Foles, Winston, Darnold, Rosen, and Taylor would all be huge steps backwards.

I'm almost tempted to cross out Matt Ryan, but would be OK if he came to camp to compete with a highly drafted QB.
 

Average Game James

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This is a viable scenario. Rumblings have been that Stafford wants out of Detroit, and the warmth embrace of a stable organization that doesn’t turnover its offensive coordinator every few years.

My concern with him is, simply, that I’m not sure his contract - you are devoting 25 and 27M in cap dollars the next two years off you don't extend/restructure his deal - is worth his production. He’s a proven, mid-level starter with obvious arm talent, but most teams who devote almost 20 percent of their cap dollars to a QB who isn’t a difference maker tend to regret it. I don’t think he’s quite good enough to justify that.
Stafford wouldn't be quite that onerous from a cap perspective - per Over the Cap, Stafford has $9.5 million in base, $10 million roster bonus and a $500k workout bonus for 2021, or $20 million total against the cap if the Pats were to trade for him. 2022 is $12.5 million base, $10 million roster bonus, and $500k workout bonus, or $23 million total. Assuming the cap is $175 million in '21, that's 11.4% of the cap on a starting QB, coincidentally that same as Brady counted for in 2019. Not saying Stafford is Tom Brady by any stretch, but the team has has no trouble operating with that level of QB cap hit in the past.

I'm not sure how realistic of a target Stafford is... he may want out of Detroit, but the Lions would be left with $19 million in dead cap money (already projected to be slightly over the cap going into 2021 with only 42 players under contract and several starters hitting FA) and probably won't be high enough in the draft to get one of the top QBs, so they would likely need to decide to basically tank the 2021 season.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Ah, I incorrectly counted his restructure money against the receiving team’s cap, but I think that is accounted for against Detroit’s cap in the event of a trade. Good catch.

The big unknown with Stafford’s status is who the new GM/coach are, and do they want to start over with someone else?
 

mwonow

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Stafford wouldn't be quite that onerous from a cap perspective - per Over the Cap, Stafford has $9.5 million in base, $10 million roster bonus and a $500k workout bonus for 2021, or $20 million total against the cap if the Pats were to trade for him. 2022 is $12.5 million base, $10 million roster bonus, and $500k workout bonus, or $23 million total. Assuming the cap is $175 million in '21, that's 11.4% of the cap on a starting QB, coincidentally that same as Brady counted for in 2019. Not saying Stafford is Tom Brady by any stretch, but the team has has no trouble operating with that level of QB cap hit in the past.

I'm not sure how realistic of a target Stafford is... he may want out of Detroit, but the Lions would be left with $19 million in dead cap money (already projected to be slightly over the cap going into 2021 with only 42 players under contract and several starters hitting FA) and probably won't be high enough in the draft to get one of the top QBs, so they would likely need to decide to basically tank the 2021 season.
If the Lions tank on purpose, will anyone notice?

They're in perpetual blow-it-up-and-start-again mode. But - isn't that the point where you trade somebody valuable for a boatload of picks, to a team that's pretty well set but needs a piece to get over the top?

The Pats need LOTS of help. They have plenty of cap space, and maybe the pro scouting department can find a half-dozen diamonds in the rough. I sure hope so, because lacking a QB and extra assets is a tough position to be in.
 

Garshaparra

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This team is built to RPO. Cam can't pass, hence the struggles this year.

IMHO: sign Jacoby, draft Trey Lance. If Lance goes early, draft Pitts to turn TE into a strength rather than a weakness, and draft Mac Davis in the 3rd.
 

RG33

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A 2nd or 3rd for Jimmy G sounds like a decent option at this point.
I would consider a 5th — but there is no way the Patriots are giving up a 2nd or 3rd rounder for a QB who has underperformed and is likely being released.

I want Jimmy G as option #1 for sure, but his value is really low now and you can’t give a 2 or 3 for him IMO.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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I'm updating the OP as improvements are suggested.

Also reminder to all -- Pats have no third rounder this year owing to annual Goodell antics/owner jealousy/Bengals butt-hurt. At the same time, the supplemental pick haul should be pretty hefty.
 

Garshaparra

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I'm updating the OP as improvements are suggested.

Also reminder to all -- Pats have no third rounder this year owing to annual Goodell antics/owner jealousy/Bengals butt-hurt. At the same time, the supplemental pick haul should be pretty hefty.
Isn't one of the supplemental picks expected to be a 3rd rounder? This is what I was thinking of.
 

Cellar-Door

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From Mugsy's list, I've crossed out the ones that I have zero interest in, or are simply unrealistic targets:


Minshew, Foles, Winston, Darnold, Rosen, and Taylor would all be huge steps backwards.

I'm almost tempted to cross out Matt Ryan, but would be OK if he came to camp to compete with a highly drafted QB.
I don't get the process behind no interest in Winston, but interest in the older, likely more expensive Fitz.
We got to see them on the same team, with the same teammates, coaches, playcalling etc. and they were very similar players. I'd rather have Jameis who is 12 years younger, still could improve with stable quality coaching and probably available on the minimum than Fitz who'll likely want $8-10M a year
 

nattysez

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I dunno, but I think there's a chance Jimmy stays in SF one more year.
I think this is likely unless CJ Beathard has another great game in Week #17 and has been blowing them away in practice.
 

Marciano490

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I don't get the process behind no interest in Winston, but interest in the older, likely more expensive Fitz.
We got to see them on the same team, with the same teammates, coaches, playcalling etc. and they were very similar players. I'd rather have Jameis who is 12 years younger, still could improve with stable quality coaching and probably available on the minimum than Fitz who'll likely want $8-10M a year
For one, Winston seems like a terrible human being and Fitz doesn’t appear to have been accused of rape or sexual assault.
 

Mystic Merlin

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How much does Belichick's age factor into this?
Meaning?

Given that NFL roster cores can’t really be built with longer vistas than 3-4 years or so, and beyond the QB there is a good argument it is even shorter given how frequent roster turnover is, and it is plausible Bill coaches another 4-5 years, I would say it doesn’t factor in at all. Bill is not gonna build the team in a way that fucks over his successor in order to grind out a few more wins.
 

Jungleland

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For one, Winston seems like a terrible human being and Fitz doesn’t appear to have been accused of rape or sexual assault.
Yup. We've won 6 super bowls. I'm 98% sure neither guy is the answer to any question other than "who is the least losing option in 2021?" - I'd much rather watch one of the most lovable guys in the league take this team to halfway decent and fun to watch for a year or two while BB figures a long term option out than root for a guy who shouldn't even be in the league to turn his career around.
 

bsj

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5 of 10 for 34 yards in the first half.
Can’t wait to see the Twitter geniuses keep trying to convince me Cam is the answer for 2021. I’ll probably watch about as much of the team next year as I have tonight if he is back.
 

heavyde050

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5 of 10 for 34 yards in the first half.
Can’t wait to see the Twitter geniuses keep trying to convince me Cam is the answer for 2021. I’ll probably watch about as much of the team next year as I have tonight if he is back.
Yeah, a lot of excuses get made for him because people like him and he is a great leader.
People said Brady was finished last year and trashed him, but he was 50X better than Cam is this year.
 

biggreen

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Watching another horrible half of cam skipping passes, it would seem tough not to improve with a change at qb with even a serviceable passer. Addition by subtraction. Anyone who has seen more of minshew play interested in bringing him in? (Admit I don’t watch much/any jags football) Is he kind of the compromise candidate between bridge Qb with possible long term potential still on rookie contract? Maybe hard to tell since he’s been injured but when he was healthy the numbers were good and he has mobility. He’s also seems to have bit of the fitzmagic personality. What would it take to get him? Jags must want to upgrade to protect their investment in Lawrence.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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The big question to me is whether BB likes the draft's QB3/4 (Lance? Jones?) enough to target a guy in the first round. A trade up of a few spots or into the back half of the top 10 seems very doable.
 

koufax32

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Looks like we’re currently sitting in the #14 spot. If NE is able to lose next week, there’s a decent chance of finishing with the #10 pick if DEN, MIN, DAL, and LAC (facing a KC that has no reason to play starters) win. That would definitely make drafting a QB easier. Hopefully Sam D. doesn’t see ghosts next week!

edited to include Denver
 
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Harry Hooper

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Yeah, a lot of excuses get made for him because people like him and he is a great leader.
People said Brady was finished last year and trashed him, but he was 50X better than Cam is this year.
You are (unintentionally) slighting Brady on this.
 

Harry Hooper

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Rams are trying to get Bortles off Denver's PS to be their backup QB this week.
 

jablo1312

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all i'll say is that while it's frustrating watching the offense be this bad, upgrading from historically awful to "bad to meh" w/ Bortles (?), Minshew, Foles, Trubisky (lol) etc. doesn't really make a lot of sense if you're actually trying to maximize your super bowl chances w/ Bill + Josh. It's either draft or spend big on a trade (you can't sign actually good quarterbacks in free agency) to acquire someone who can play the position at a high enough level to contend for a title. That's obviously a difficult thing to do and even more difficult to do when you have a lot of places you need to upgrade or add depth elsewhere on the roster. Unlikely you'd have a situation like last years 49ers where a slightly above average QB is operating with a loaded roster.
 

Beomoose

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Is there a universe where Billcan trade up into Fields range?
I don’t mind Cam as the bridge QB if the Pats address the position through the draft. At that point, cultural fit is more important than 2021 production, and Cam is better than the alternatives (though Fitzy would also be good and would probably be better on the field).
Seconded.
 

sodenj5

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Is there a universe where Billcan trade up into Fields range?
It doesn’t seem impossible, just highly unlikely.

Would need the Jets to pass on a QB at 2. If they take Sewell or Parsons, ATL, DET, CAR, DEN are all teams that could go QB currently in front of them.

They would likely need to get into the top 5 to secure Fields or Wilson, if the Jets pass on a QB. If they don’t, they would probably need to move up to 3 or 4.
 

Beomoose

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It doesn’t seem impossible, just highly unlikely.

Would need the Jets to pass on a QB at 2. If they take Sewell or Parsons, ATL, DET, CAR, DEN are all teams that could go QB currently in front of them.

They would likely need to get into the top 5 to secure Fields or Wilson, if the Jets pass on a QB. If they don’t, they would probably need to move up to 3 or 4.
Yeah, top 5 seems pretty unlikely. Had seen some mocks with NYJ picking Wilson and Fields going to Detroit at 7, which for feels far more get-able for Bill. I guess I'll go back to hoping Lance's not having a 2020 season causes him to fall into our hands.
 

Super Nomario

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Is there a universe where Billcan trade up into Fields range?

Seconded.
After last night, I'm not in love with a big trade up. They need a QB but they need about 25 other things, too. Giving up two premium picks to take a QB who isn't QB1 and throwing him into this team with these receiving weapons and this defense seems like a recipe for disaster. In the middle of the first, they're not really in a great position to draft a QB, and it won't surprise me if they are in better position next year.
 

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After last night, I'm not in love with a big trade up. They need a QB but they need about 25 other things, too. Giving up two premium picks to take a QB who isn't QB1 and throwing him into this team with these receiving weapons and this defense seems like a recipe for disaster. In the middle of the first, they're not really in a great position to draft a QB, and it won't surprise me if they are in better position next year.
My feelings exactly and why I opined upthread that I don't want them using any 1st or 2nd round draft capital on a QB.

That said, I do think they might need to make a splash early so that other FA's might have some optimism about signing here. A lot of improvements can be made in the draft and the bargain-basement end of free agency, but they need some playmakers to catch the ball and in the front 7 -- both of those will cost a lot in FA, but also can be found in the first couple rounds of the draft.
 

mwonow

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After last night, I'm not in love with a big trade up. They need a QB but they need about 25 other things, too. Giving up two premium picks to take a QB who isn't QB1 and throwing him into this team with these receiving weapons and this defense seems like a recipe for disaster. In the middle of the first, they're not really in a great position to draft a QB, and it won't surprise me if they are in better position next year.
Painful as it is to agree, I think you're right. NOBODY is afraid of the Pats right now - the front 7 is pretty easy to block or move, and the offense is stuck in 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust mode.

A talented D would be at least fun to watch, and a scary weapon or two on offense would make that side of the ball more bearable. Selling out for a high draft pick QB leaves holes in too many places, and if that pick whiffs, the Pats are looking at a grim half-decade.