According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, the Patriots will look to either add a veteran or acquire a QB in the draft but "aren't rushing into anything."
Earlier on Tuesday, NFL Network analyst Peter Schrager said the Patriots "love" Jarrett Stidham, who backed up Brady as a rookie last season, and are excited about his future. That would seemingly make Stidham the starter at this point with third-stringer Cody Kessler moving into the No. 2 slot on the depth chart.
Already the quarterback carousel is spinning at breakneck speeds in the NFL. Drew Brees will re-sign in New Orleans, Teddy Bridgewater came to terms with the Carolina Panthers, Ryan Tannehill is staying in Tennessee for four more years, Philip Rivers agreed to a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts and Marcus Mariota has landed with the Las Vegas Raiders.
The only free agent starting quarterback from 2019 who has yet to find a new home is the man Brady is replacing in Tampa Bay: Jameis Winston.
But with so many of the big names off the board already, it may make the most sense to see where things stand after the week ends—and as the draft nears.
While LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa are expected to be among the top three picks in April, there are plenty of young arms behind them who may make sense for the Patriots. Chief among them are Jacob Eason, Jake Fromm and Jalen Hurts.
None of those options will cost as much as the $30 million per year Brady is reportedly getting from Tampa. From a cost perspective, drafting a third-string quarterback makes the most sense. Signing a veteran would be a close second, as the value from having an extra mentor for Stidham could prove invaluable.
To date, Stidham has thrown just four passes during the NFL regular season, with two being completed and one intercepted. That's not quite a sample size that allows for a thorough breakdown of a quarterback's skills.
The Pats have gone with just two QBs on their depth chart in the past; however, that's when Brady was running the show. Things have changed in New England, and adapting to it appears to take more planning than action at the moment.
Reported deals via NFL.com's free-agency tracker.