While the sports world waits with bated breath for Tom Brady to officially sign a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New England Patriots suddenly find themselves in a position they have not been in for 20 years, without a bona fide starting quarterback. As it stands right now, 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham moves to the top of the Patriots depth chart, while five-year veteran journeyman quarterback Cody Kessler sits behind him.
Stidham played one season at Baylor before transferring to Auburn for two seasons. He threw for over 7,000 yards with 48 touchdowns and 13 interceptions during his collegiate career. He impressed the Patriots during the preseason, throwing for 731 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception, beating out Brian Hoyer as the Patriots backup quarterback.
Last October, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told reporters he was impressed with how smart Stidham is.
"Jarrett is a smart kid," Belichick said at the time. "He picks things up very quickly. He has a good grasp of the offense given where he is in his career. He's handled everything we've thrown at him. In practice, he does a good job. He gets a lot of passes on our defense, and when he has the opportunity to get the offensive snaps, he's prepared and does a good job of those."
Stidham will have big shoes to fill, and it is unknown how he will handle the added pressure of replacing arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
The Patriots could go out and get another veteran quarterback either via a trade or free agency. They could also look to the upcoming NFL Draft and try to pick up a young quarterback. They have the 23rd pick in the first round, plus three third-rounders and one fourth-round pick.
Could the Patriots, who managed to take Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL with the 199th pick, find another diamond in the rough this year? Or will Stidham will develop into their next star quarterback?
Team officials have not addressed the issue and have plenty of time until the April draft to decide how they want to move forward with the loss of Brady.
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