This series is going to look at the Patriots roster heading into the 2019 training camp. It will be broken up by position. In the end, I will make a mock roster to predict who will make the team's final 53 man roster.
Patriots Quarterback Preview
Quarterback may be one of the funniest positions for the Patriots. For the 18th straight year, New England knows that their 2019 starter will be Tom Brady. Even at 42, Brady is still one of the best quarterbacks playing in the NFL.
He took New England to their third straight Super Bowl (and second win in three years), throwing for over 4300 yards and just under 30 touchdowns at a completion rate of 65%. It's actually ridiculous to think about just how ridiculous those numbers are for someone his age. His overall numbers will continue to climb this year as he closes in on Peyton Manning's statistical records.
What's funny is how ridiculously far the quarterback position falls after Brady. Now obviously, it's hard to compare to the greatest quarterback of all time. Nonetheless, the drop off would have a catastrophic impact on the Patriots; with Brady, the team is Super Bowl contenders; without Brady, they would be fighting for a playoff spot.
Brian Hoyer is a journeyman who has proven that he cannot win when it counts, Danny Etling spent a year on the practice squad, and Jarrett Stidham is a rookie with a serious need for development. There won't be much for the Patriots to bank on if Brady goes down. The only good thing here is that it makes it easier on me to make roster predictions.
- Tom Brady: The GOAT is gearing up for his 19th straight season leading the Patriots. His stats may drop this season because he's 42 and he has to begin to decline at some point (right?). But even a slightly underperforming Tom Brady will be more than enough to make New England one of the top contenders in the AFC. Luckily the team is bringing back four of it's five starting offensive linemen which will help keep the old man on his feet. A loaded backfield will also keep the pressure off of Brady as well. He will survive another shot at a title.
- Jarrett Stidham: Barring an unforeseen circumstance, Stidham will be on the Patriots roster when the regular season opens. He is not necessarily the heir apparent to Brady, but as a fourth-round selection, he has some clout. The team, especially Bill Belichick who covets mid-round picks like gold, would not have wasted a fourth-round pick on someone only to cut them before the season even begins. Stidham will get at least a year to learn under Brady.
- Brian Hoyer: Cutting Hoyer after last season would have saved the team roughly $1.5 million heading into this season. That would have done little to help New England free up more cap space or get creative with free agents. With that in mind, it's more worth it to keep him on the roster at least through training camp to have a solid veteran presence.
Whether or not Hoyer makes the team will come down less to the quarterback position itself, and more to the rest of the team. Belichick has not shied away from keeping three or more quarterbacks on his roster. However, it needs to be the right circumstance for that. If Stidham develops quickly in camp, the team may see a need at a different position as more important than keeping Hoyer.
Unlikely To Make It
- Danny Etling: the Patriots 2018 seventh round pick found his way to the team's practice squad for the entirety of last season. He showed very little during his first preseason and clearly did not blow the coaches away considering their choice to draft Stidham. Unless Etling can have a fantastic showing in camp and beat out Hoyer, it is likely that he will be released before the start of the season.