The New England Patriots caught many by surprise with the release of quarterback Cam Newton on Tuesday ahead of the league’s 53-man roster deadline.
Instead, the Patriots will go with rookie first-rounder Mac Jones as the team’s starter. It also means New England is down to just two options on the quarterback depth chart as Jarrett Stidham heads to the physically unable to perform (PUP) list meaning he’ll be sidelined for the first six weeks. The Patriots reportedly are fine with Stidham as the back up when he returns, but could they make a move before he does so?
After all, Jones is now No. 1 on the depth chart followed by veteran Brian Hoyer, who was demoted to third-string after his start against the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2020 campaign.
Here are a few options if New England decided to bring in a third signal-caller, and admittedly there’s not a wealth of options.
Kyle Allen, Washington Football Team
Allen, 25, enters the season as the Washington’s third-string option behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke. The Patriots reportedly were interested in bringing in Allen during the post-Tom Brady era before signing Newton. Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard is among those who like Allen to New England, as he noted on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger & Mazz” on Tuesday.
Nick Foles, Chicago Bears
Foles, 32, is another third-string signal-caller behind starter Andy Dalton and first-round pick Justin Fields. And while it’s a bit surprising Bears head coach Matt Nagy is choosing to start the season with Dalton, it’s unlikely Foles ever sees the field with Fields having the chance to take over for Dalton in short order. Foles shouldn’t be looked at as the same QB who led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl (he went 2-5 as a Bears starter last season) but he could serve as an upgrade over Hoyer.
Joe Flacco, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles traded for Gardner Minshew and it almost certainly will push Flacco to third on Philadelphia’s depth chart behind starter Jalen Hurts and Minshew. It makes the 36-year-old a bit more realistic now that Philadelphia has a decent back-up QB. Perhaps New England views Flacco as an upgrade?
Grier was cut by the Panthers on Tuesday after Carolina used a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on the West Virginia product. The Patriots reportedly showed some interest in Grier before that draft, as he would have come in an been a potential back up for then-quarterback Tom Brady. Scott Zolak, the radio broadcaster of the Patriots, expressed his interest in Grier during 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Zolak & Bertrand” on Tuesday.
Dolegala, who was cut by the Green Bay Packers earlier this week, already has had two stints with the Patriots (practice squad, training camp), but hasn’t played in an NFL game to this point in his career. Still, it wouldn’t be a major shock to see the Patriots bring the 24-year-old back as a practice squad arm.