We have heard a handful of names frequently mentioned when the Patriots’ quarterback situation for the 2021 season is being discussed.
A Jimmy Garoppolo return to Foxboro has been a popular hypothetical. New England re-signing Cam Newton probably cannot be ruled out at this point, and there always is a chance the Patriots make a power play for a quarterback in the upcoming draft.
One quarterback who has not been commonly linked to New England? Jameis Winston, who is set to hit free agency after serving as a backup in New Orleans this past season. ESPN believes Winston could be an answer to the Patriots’ need under center.
“Dak Prescott is the best choice, but the chance of him becoming available is pretty slim,” Seth Galina wrote. “So this move really comes down to Ryan Fitzpatrick or Jameis Winston. If it’s Fitzpatrick, then it’s a stopgap until they find their next true quarterback. With Winston, Bill Belichick might believe he can be the one who molds him into a real NFL quarterback.
“The tools are already there. Winston finished fourth in big-time throws in 2019 with 31, but he also led the league in turnover-worthy plays with 40. Someone is going to pay big money to try to fix this man.”
It’s tough to imagine the Patriots would be willing to go the extra financial mile to land Winston, despite his high ceiling. The turnovers and poor decision-making are legitimate issues for the 27-year-old, and those shortcomings might make him too great of a risk for New England. It would be one thing if the Patriots were a quarterback away from becoming a Super Bowl contender, but Bill Belichick’s team has pressing needs at other positions as well.
Fitzpatrick can be pretty reckless with the football, too, but his fit with the Patriots would make sense for multiple reasons. The 38-year-old wouldn’t cost as much as Winston and he also could serve as a mentor for a rookie signal-caller, should the Patriots draft one next month.