Patriots Potential QBs: Where Does Jacoby Brissett Rank Among Options?

Brissett will hit free agency next week

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Mar 9, 2021

Leading up to the start of NFL free agency, NESN.com will break down the New England Patriots’ top potential veteran quarterback options. Next up: Indianapolis Colts free-agent QB Jacoby Brissett.

JACOBY BRISSETT

2021 status: unrestricted free agent

2020 stats: 2-of-8, 17 passing yards; 17 carries, 19 rushing yards, three rushing TDs

Pros: He’s the best knows-the-system guy until the San Francisco 49ers make Jimmy Garoppolo available in a trade. The Patriots selected Brissett in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft before trading him to the Indianapolis Colts — where he’s stayed ever since — just a year later.

The 28-year-old QB has 22 games of starting experience, filling in for Tom Brady (suspension) and Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder injury) in 2016, and Andrew Luck in 2017 (shoulder injury) and 2019 (surprise retirement). The Colts went 7-8 with Brissett as their starter in 2019 but improved to 11-5 with Philip Rivers in 2020. Brissett is 12-20 in his career as a starter.

The sixth-year pro’s best quality is his ability to protect the football through the air. He has just 13 interceptions and a 1.3-percent interception rate in his career. That mark is fifth-best in the league among QBs with at least 100 passing attempts since 2016.

He also wouldn’t cost the Patriots a large fraction of their $50 million-plus in salary cap space on the free-agent market. We project he’ll sign a two-year contract worth around $12 million. Tyrod Taylor signed a two-year deal worth $11 million in 2019 while Case Keenum netted a three-year deal worth $18 million last offseason. Brissett is in line with that caliber of quarterback.

If the Patriots signed Brissett, they could also spend a draft pick on a quarterback and build around them with their remaining cap space. If the weapons around Brissett or a rookie QB, and the defense were good enough, New England could still improve upon last season’s 7-9 record.

Cons: Brissett is a good backup but a bottom-of-the-barrel starter. Since he was drafted, Brissett ranks 34th out of 35 qualified quarterbacks in RBSDM.com’s EPA (expected points added) + CPOE (completion percentage over expected) metric. He ranks 30th in air yards in that same span.

No team has willingly gone into a season with Brissett as their starter for a reason. The Colts signed Philip Rivers last offseason and traded for Carson Wentz last month. Jacob Eason, drafted in the fourth round last year, will probably be Indianapolis’ future backup.

If the money is the same, the Patriots might just be better off re-signing Cam Newton rather than bringing back Brissett, who they dealt for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett back in 2017 rather than keeping the QB around as a potential future starter. And that was months before the Patriots also traded Garoppolo and were left to sign Brian Hoyer as a backup.

Verdict: Brissett is among the worst-case scenario quarterback options for New England this offseason. He does remain a possibility, however, if the Patriots run out of other options.

Other potential Patriots QBs: Dak Prescott, Cam Newton, Deshaun Watson, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Jimmy Garoppolo

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots defense
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