The New England Patriots are preparing for life without Tom Brady, but they haven't done much to replace him. Head coach Bill Belichick passed on the opportunity to sign Andy Dalton or Jameis Winston in free agency, and didn't select a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft. No matter what Belichick says, the Patriots are going to always be a candidate to add another signal-caller before the regular season with Brady now a Buccaneer.
On Thursday's NFL Network schedule release show, Belichick joined Rich Eisen to discuss how he's preparing for the 2020 season without arguably the best quarterback of all time. Belichick reminded everyone that he's managed to get his team ready without Brady before due to injury and suspensions, and he will have no problem doing it again. When asked if New England would make any additions to the quarterback room in the near future, Belichick didn't do much to close the door on the possibility.
"That's where we are," Belichick said, via NFL.com. "You never know what's going to happen down the road, but we feel like we have four good players there."
Currently, the Patriots' quarterback depth chart appears to be led by second-year signal-caller Jarrett Stidham. The fourth-round pick in last year's draft impressed in the preseason last year, but completed only 2 of 4 passes for 14 yards and an interception in three regular-season games last season. The Patriots also signed longtime backup Brian Hoyer, who will begin his third stint with the Patriots.
While the Patriots didn't draft a signal-caller in the NFL draft this time around, they did add some depth at the position after the draft. They went and signed undrafted free-agent quarterbacks Brian Lewerke out of Michigan State and J'Mar Smith out of Louisiana Tech. According to Belichick, the team was looking to take a quarterback in the draft, but the right situation just never came up.
"If we feel like we find the right situation, we'll certainly draft them," Belichick said. "We've drafted them in multiple years, multiple points in the draft. Didn't work out last three days. That wasn't by design. It could have, but it didn't."
As for the two undrafted quarterbacks, Smith might be the more intriguing one. The former Louisiana Tech quarterback led the Bulldogs to a 10-3 record during a 2019 season where he completed 64.3% of his passes while throwing for 2,977 yards and 18 touchdowns, along with just five interceptions. Lewerke also had a decent senior season. During his final year at Michigan State, the former Spartan quarterback threw for 3,079 yards and 17 touchdowns while leading MSU to a 7-6 record.
The quarterback the Patriots will continued to be tied to this offseason is former Carolina Panthers signal-caller Cam Newton. While the Patriots still have not shown any interest in signing the former league MVP, he's the only prospective starter still on the open market, and some find it hard to believe that Stidham will really be the one to fill Brady's shoes.