Should Tom Brady walk in free agency next month, Nick Wright doesn’t envision an in-house promotion under center for the New England Patriots.
The future of the quarterback position in New England remains fairly ominous. While Brady staying put was the perceived likeliest scenario earlier in the offseason, more recent reports suggest the six-time Super Bowl champion will enter the open market with the mindset of joining a new team.
In the event Brady does sign elsewhere, Wright believes the Patriots would be best served by pursuing a veteran signal-caller as opposed to giving the reins to Jarrett Stidham.
“Let’s assume he’s not there. To me, there are four obvious options,” Wright said Friday on FS1’s “First Things First.” “The coolest option is Cam Newton. I know the Panthers have come out and said that, ‘He’s our guy,’ but minds can change. The safest option is Teddy Bridgewater, the most boring option is Andy Dalton and the most interesting option is Marcus Mariota. The reason I say most interesting for Mariota is Mariota, second overall pick, in Year 2 he was awesome. Never turned the ball over, I think he had a 96 rating. He had a 3:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and then his play has trailed off. It’s one of those four names, in my opinion. I don’t think it’s Jarrett Stidham. You can go cool Cam, safe Teddy, boring Andy Dalton or interesting Marcus Mariota. One of those four guys.”
Best QB options for the Patriots if Tom Brady doesn't return to New England, according to @getnickwright:
Marcus Mariota pic.twitter.com/2w1GwF3m2i
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) February 28, 2020
Not only is Mariota arguably the most interesting of that bunch, he’d probably be the easiest to reel in as well. Both Newton and Dalton would need to be acquired via trades, while Bridgewater is primed to cash in after his impressive body of work for the New Orleans Saints last season in relief of Drew Brees. Mariota, meanwhile, was demoted to the bench halfway through the 2019 campaign. Judging by reputation, he sounds like he’d be a great fit in the Patriots locker room, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels potentially could make the most of Mariota’s versatile skill set.
All of this said, the Patriots have yet to actually cross the post-Brady bridge. Although recent chatter has suggested otherwise, we probably shouldn’t rule out TB12 sticking around in Foxboro.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images