NFL Analyst Predicts Patriots’ Starting Quarterback For 2021 Season

This could be a pretty good fit for both sides

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February 18, 2021

Who will be starting quarterback for the Patriots next season? It really is anyone’s guess.

New England could go in a few different directions to address the uncertainty under center. Perhaps the Patriots will try to land their next franchise signal-caller with the 15th overall pick in April’s draft. New England also could tap into the free-agent QB market and the return of Cam Newton reportedly isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

Tasked with predicting the Patriots’ starting quarterback for the 2021 campaign, NFL analyst Field Yates pinpointed a former starter who’s been resigned to backup duties the past season-plus: Marcus Mariota.

“The Patriots are among a group of teams that are too far from the top of the draft order to be a likely landing spot for the top-draft-prospect quarterbacks, meaning we’re examining other veteran options who could be logical fits,” Yates wrote for ESPN.com. “While a Cam Newton return isn’t totally ruled out, it’s an unlikely option. The 27-year-old Mariota is under contract for one more year with the Raiders but carries a cap charge of $10.725M, an unlikely tab for them to pay for a backup in a cap-tightened year.

“Be it via a trade or cut, Mariota could find a new home this offseason … and the Patriots are a logical fit.”

Mariota impressed in his lone game action of this past season. The second overall draft pick in 2015 came on in relief of an injured Derek Carr and completed 17 of 28 pass attempts for 226 yards with a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers. Mariota also ran nine times for 88 yards with a score in the Raiders’ overtime loss.

Should the Patriots acquire Mariota, they would — at a minimum — be bringing in a motivated player who needs to rebuild his stock. Mariota also boasts dual-threat abilities, which would afford Josh McDaniels the opportunity to get creative with the offensive play-calling. Not to mention, Mariota only has started eight games over the past two seasons, so he might be fresher than the typical starting QB.

Mariota probably isn’t a long-term fix at quarterback for the Patriots. But for more reasons than one, he might be a solid stopgap option.

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