The New England Patriots must have liked veteran quarterback Cody Kessler when they signed him last season seeing as they inked him to a two-year deal.

So, Kessler will be back this spring unless the Patriots really shake up their quarterback position. (They have a pretty big-name free agent at the position if you haven’t heard.)

Kessler is definitely a useful arm to have in spring practices, training camp and the preseason. He’s not a high-upside player, but he has started games if disaster struck and it came down to that for the Patriots.

The USC product was selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He started eight games as a rookie and went … 0-8. But that was for a 1-15 team, and he wasn’t awful. Kessler completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 1,380 yards with six touchdowns and just two interceptions with a 92.3 passer rating. He started four games for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018 and went 2-2, completing 64.9 percent of his passes for 709 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

To this point in his NFL career, Kessler has been a solid backup and a starter with safe tendencies and little potential. He doesn’t have a huge arm, and he’s not going to take a ton of risks. He’s never quite lived up to expectations after his junior season with the Trojans when he completed 69.7 percent of his passes for 3,826 yards with 39 touchdowns and five interceptions.

But if Tom Brady leaves and the Patriots, by some outside chance, decide to roll with Jarrett Stidham as their starting quarterback, then Kessler isn’t a completely disastrous choice as a No. 2.

Of course, pretty much all options are on the table for the Patriots this offseason. Brady could still return as a free agent. If he doesn’t, the Patriots could add a proven veteran starter either by free agency or trade. You’ve probably already heard the names Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Andy Dalton and Cam Newton thrown around.

Kessler also could stick around as a third-stringer for a second straight year. The Patriots initially signed Kessler on Sept. 25, cut him Oct. 15 and then re-signed him Oct. 28. He was on the team for the rest of the season but was never on the 46-man active roster.

How Kessler competes this offseason could decide whether he’s a camp arm or a potential second-stringer for the Patriots in 2020.

Other hidden Patriots: CB D’Angelo Ross, WR Quincy Adeboyejo, WR Gunner Olszewski, OT Yodny Cajuste, QB Cody Kessler, FB Jakob Johnson, S Malik Gant, RB Damien Harris, OT Korey Cunningham, OL Hjalte Froholdt, WR Devin Ross, DE Tashawn Bower, CB Joejuan Williams

Thumbnail photo via Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports Images