Howe believes that Jarrett Stidham still remains the Patriots best option as the starting quarterback in 2020 then any of the draft options Belichick could select in April.
Most New England Patriots fans are hoping that when the 2020 NFL season starts Bill Belichick just keeps things simple and has our beloved number 12 behind center.
Even though there are a lot of rumors floating around that the Patriots haven't shown any interest, it's been heavily reported by real reporters that the Patriots are just sitting tight and waiting to see what happens with the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current projected salary cap for the 2020 season is $200 million, but if the NFLPA members vote yes for the new CBA, then the cap could be increased significantly. Until that happens, I wouldn't expect much action between Brady and the Patriots.
If Belichick is playing a dangerous game and loses, that would result in Brady walking away and the Patriots needing to replace him. According to Jeff Howe of the Athletic "Short of a collision of unexpected events, the Patriots probably won’t be finding their 2020 starting quarterback in the current draft class."
For the sake of this conversation, let's pretend the worst case scenario happens and Tom Brady signs with either the Las Vegas Raiders, LA Chargers, or the Tennessee Titans, Howe believes that Jarrett Stidham still remains the Patriots best option as the starting quarterback in 2020 then any of the draft options Belichick could select in April.
"Based on information gathered around the NFL, the 2020 draft class has two solid franchise quarterbacks – Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa – and both are expected to be selected in the first few picks. It would take an unprecedented trade for the Patriots to move up the board, hypothetically moving all of their picks in the next two drafts just to get in range."
After Burrow and Tagovaiola, Justin Herbert and Jordan Love are the next two quarterbacks in line. Depending on the Draft class, sometimes selecting the third best quarterback is a great thing and a team is getting a franchise quarterback and the Patriots wouldn't need to trade up to the top 5 to get Herbert, but they would still need to trade up to the top 10, and Justin Herbert is not a slam dunk candidate.
"Herbert is viewed as the third-best quarterback in the class, but there’s some debate whether he’ll be a franchise piece or a bottom-half starter. The Oregon product has an elite arm, but his mechanics are a bit funky and he generated a lot of yards through screens and run-pass options. While he has executed some pro-style looks, it’s unclear how ready he’ll be to do it on a fulltime basis at the NFL level without some offensive ingenuity."
Jordan Love who has been unfairly compared to Patrick Mahomes because of the arm angles he's able to throw the ball, but that's really where the comparison should end.
"He’s the hot name in the class and figures to blow up the combine because of his mechanics, arm talent and touch. Love was made for this type of atmosphere. - There are concerns beyond that, but teams will have to assess the circumstances behind them. Love was much better in 2018 than 2019, when the talent at Utah State was inferior. Talent evaluators saw Love try to overcompensate by the lack of supporting cast, force too many passes, leave the pocket too early to try to make plays on his own and open himself up to mistakes. Love was also bitten by upwards of 80 drops during his two seasons as a starter."
Love could eventually turn into a very reliable starter, especially if he played under a coach like Josh McDaniels, but if the Patriots did select Love in this years Draft, the bar should be set very low, and there should be zero expectations that he be the Patriots starter in 2020, if Brady wasn't there.
I would give the Patriots about a 50/50 shot at being able to draft Love with the 23rd pick. If Love is selected in the top 20, I don't think it's worth it for the Patriots to move up. If Brady did leave the Patriots this year, then the Patriots should focus on building their other positions. The Patriots can try and sign one of the cheaper veterans available, and focus on finding their franchise quarterback next season. Belichick already made his gamble in 2014 when drafted Jimmy Garoppolo, it made sense at the time. Taking a gamble on quarterback in 2020 makes zero sense.
Jake Fromm could be seen as a franchise quarterback, but I'm not entirely sure he fits into the modern day NFL. He is a slower, less accurate version of Tom Brady with bad mechanics, and awful pocket presence. It will take a long for Fromm to develop into a starting quarterback if ever does, and he's just not worth the risk for the Patriots right now.
"The issues have been with Fromm’s mobility, anticipation, mechanics, arm strength, pocket presence, scrambling ability and accuracy with the deep ball. That’s quite the list. - Aside from the mobility and a degree of arm strength, most of that can be corrected with the right coaching, but it’s going to take some time. Are the positive traits worth the 23rd pick and subsequent patience? That’s a lot to ask unless the Patriots truly believe Fromm has franchise potential."
Jacob Eason and Jalen Hurts are solid options, and there have been rumors floating around that the Patriots are interested in drafting Eason. But, like Jordan Love, neither candidate would be ready to start for the Patriots in 2020.
How the Patriots address the quarterback situation if Tom Brady leaves comes down to one of two factors. If Belichick drafts a quarterback, then he has to sign a veteran. A rookie can't sit behind Jarrett Stidham and learn. If the Patriots don't think the future is in the draft, then they could still sign a veteran that they think can compete with the Patriots, or they could run with Jarrett Stidham.
Regardless of happens in the draft, the Patriots best option for 2020 is re-signing Tom Brady. Whether they find their quarterback of the future, that's really a wait and see, but if we are to follow the same line of thinking as Jeff Howe, we definitely won't be seeing a 2020 draft prospect starting for the Patriots.