ESPN’s Ideal QB Situation For Patriots Would Require Extreme Patience

Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance?


February 25, 2021

New England Patriots fans should be crossing their fingers that ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. is a soothsayer.

Kiper laid out an enticing situation for the Patriots in his latest mock draft that has the San Francisco 49ers trading up to take Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and releasing QB Jimmy Garoppolo plus the Patriots trading up to take North Dakota State QB Trey Lance, who has fallen below Alabama QB Mac Jones.

In this scenario, the Patriots theoretically could up for Lance plus sign Garoppolo after he’s been released by the 49ers. The knock on Lance is that he might not be ready to play right away after just one year as a starter at the FCS level. The red flag on Garoppolo is his durability. By adding both QBs, they would essentially solve both of those issues by starting Garoppolo right away and having Lance as a backup with high upside who would eventually take over the top role. Combined, Garoppolo and Lance wouldn’t come close to costing top dollar for a starting QB.

This situation might be unlikely regardless, but it also would take some serious patience and risk for New England. The Patriots would be banking on the 49ers trading up on draft day for a QB and, in turn, releasing Garoppolo. It would also depend on the Patriots being able to trade up for a falling Lance. And they would have to go the next two months without adding a quarterback in the meantime, leaving them with Jarrett Stidham and Jake Dolegala at the position in the process. And that could hinder their ability to entice free agents, especially pass-catchers.

It could be a risk worth taking, however. A combo of Lance and Garoppolo would be an ideal situation barring something improbable like adding Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson. There are other veteran-rookie quarterback duos that would similarly give New England attractive current and future starters at the position. New England could sign Marcus Mariota if he’s indeed released by the Raiders and then trade up or sit back to take Lance or Jones. The Patriots also could see if the 49ers end up releasing Garoppolo and also add Jones in the draft.

It’s impossible to predict who will be under center for the Patriots in 2021. Cam Newton, Jacoby Brissett and a slew of other free-agent quarterbacks are on the table, and more signal-callers have been rumored to be on the trade block.

Patriots fans might rightly freak out if the team waits until draft day to settle the position. But that type of risk could also pay dividends.

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