While the rest of New England freaks out about Tom Brady’s future, Jarrett Stidham is just focused on what he can control.

Well, that’s the story he’s sticking to, at least.

Fresh off his rookie season in which he essentially red-shirted, Stidham potentially is two months away from being the only quarterback on the New England Patriots’ roster. Should Brady enter free agency March 18, there is a chance the 42-year-old leaves and signs with another team.

If that happens, it stands to reason the Patriots would add another quarterback, either via trade, free agency or through the draft. Regardless, Stidham might be in line to receive the most daunting of labels: Tom Brady’s heir.

So, how is that rolling over the 23-year-old?

“Right now, I can’t really think too much about all of that. I have to worry about what I need to do to prepare to enhance my game, to learn as much as I possibly can,” Stidham said from the Panini Rookie Closeout in California, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “That’s the biggest thing I’ve focused on, making a big stride from Year 1 to Year 2.”

Whether Stidham truly is ready to be an NFL starter remains to be seen. In reality, only the Patriots know if the Auburn product has what it takes.

No matter what the future holds for Stidham, he only has benefited from holding Brady’s clipboard.

“It was priceless,” Stidham said of backing up Brady last season. “It’s going to be really cool one day when I can sit there and tell my children, or my grandkids one day, that I got to be in the same quarterback room and talking about coverages and different passing concepts with Tom. He’s a phenomenal teammate, a phenomenal person, obviously a phenomenal player. There was just so much that I got to learn from him. He was obviously very open to me about stuff that he’s thought about the game of football, and stuff like that.

“It was great. I can’t speak highly enough of that guy.”

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images