Chances are the Patriots’ quarterback depth chart will be made up of 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham, Hoyer and veteran backup Cody Kessler. Stidham is the favorite to start, though Hoyer, with 38 career starts, and Kessler, with 12 career starts, will be given their own shots in the preseason and training camp.
There is still an outside shot of the Patriots signing another veteran quarterback or selection one high in the 2020 NFL Draft, however. The Patriots would take on no dead money if they chose to cut Kessler, who’s on the books for $935k in 2020.
So, say, if Cam Newton or Andy Dalton were released, or if Jameis Winston’s free-agent market drops out, then the Patriots could still sign another quarterback. And if a player like Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert dropped to within drafting range, then the Patriots could still add a rookie. Jalen Hurts is another player who could interest the Patriots in the middle rounds of the draft.
The Hoyer signing simply makes those moves voluntary rather than required. The Patriots have their young passer with upside in Stidham and two veteran backups who know the Patriots’ offense. It’s an OK place to be with so much uncertainty ahead of the 2020 NFL season due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has already pushed back the offseason workout program and could cancel it altogether.
If the Patriots elected to add a new quarterback, there’s no telling when he could actually enter Gillette Stadium to start working with coaches and teammates. That matters because the Patriots run a complex offense.
Hoyer won’t ease any Patriots fans’ concerns over losing Tom Brady, but he’s a logical, if uninspiring, addition.