Not everyone is sold on Jarrett Stidham.
Although Stidham, a fourth-round pick in 2019, someday could become the Patriots’ starting quarterback, former NFL safety Ryan Clark explained Wednesday on ESPN’s “Get Up” that he believes New England should explore other options in wake of Tom Brady’s departure.
“Well, I think they’re gonna look internally and understand that Jarrett Stidham is not ready,” Clark said. “It’s not Jarrett Stidham’s time, and coming into the draft last year, you thought getting him in the mid rounds could be a steal because you would have a future starter. But you don’t right now.”
So, if not Stidham, then who exactly should be Brady’s successor in 2020?
Well, Clark pointed to Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who figures to leave Carolina this offseason after the team released a statement Tuesday saying its working with the three-time Pro Bowl selection and his agent to find the best fit moving forward.
Newton replied to the Panthers’ statement to clarify he didn’t request a trade, but it sure seems like it’s just a matter of time before the sides part ways, and Clark thinks the Patriots make sense as a landing spot with Brady reportedly joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Cam Newton comes out (Tuesday) and says, ‘You know what? I didn’t ask for a trade. You don’t do me like that. Carolina, don’t put that narrative out there.’ But this is a guy, if he’s healthy, if you feel like he can quarterback, I think he works in New England,” Clark said. “And here’s why: Week to week, New England changes as an offense, whether they want to be a run-first offense, that they’re an offense that’s gonna check the ball out of the backfield with their backs or if they’re gonna use wide receivers outside. So they can definitely, with (offensive coordinator) Josh McDaniels and all that they have, morph into a team that can work with Cam Newton at the quarterback.”
Newton, who turns 31 in May, dealt with shoulder and foot injuries over the past couple of seasons, hindering both his availability and his performance. He was the NFL MVP in 2015, though, and he certainly is an elite talent when healthy.
If the Patriots don’t make a play for Newton, Clark can’t help but wonder whether Bill Belichick will check on the availability of Jacoby Brissett, who started two games for New England as a rookie in 2016 while Brady served a four-game suspension related to Deflategate and Jimmy Garoppolo battled a shoulder injury.
“We also know that the Indianapolis Colts now have a new quarterback in Philip Rivers. What does that mean for Jacoby Brissett, who was once the starter in New England when Tom Brady was out (suspended) and Jimmy Garoppolo goes down,” Clark said. “And so there are so many different things that they could do, but they have to get a veteran, they have to get a veteran that can win, and Bill Belichick’s gonna try to bring back some of that positive energy that he had from the past going 11-5 with Matt Cassel as the starting quarterback after losing Brady in the first game against the Kansas City Chiefs years ago.”
Whatever the case, we’ll learn a lot about Belichick’s confidence level in Stidham with how the organization approaches the immediate aftermath of Brady leaving town.