Patriots Rumors: Jarrett Stidham Has 'Inside Track' on Starting QB Job

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIApril 1, 2020

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 29: Jarrett Stidham #4 of the New England Patriots looks on during the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The New England Patriots have been relatively quiet in the quarterback market since Tom Brady departed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March. 

There is a reason for that, according to The Athletic's Jeff Howe, as Stidham has the "inside track" to be the Patriots starter in 2020:

"At this point, a source has said the Patriots have expressed no interest in signing Cam Newton or trading for Andy Dalton—the two most popular speculated moves—nor do they have the cap space to make such a transaction.

So it'll be Stidham. It'd hardly be a surprise if they open camp with [Brian] Hoyer as the starter and force Stidham to wrest away the job, but a dose of adversity should help the kid if that's the route they choose. Either way, as long as Stidham maintains his pace from last summer, it should be his job."

The Pats signed veteran backup Brian Hoyer to a one-year contract following his release from the Indianapolis Colts. The 34-year-old was enticed by the opportunity to compete for a starting job:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Agent Joe Linta tells me: “It someone offered him $5M or $6M to be a backup, Brian still would’ve wanted to be back in New England. They gave him a chance to compete for the starting job, and that’s all he asked for.” https://t.co/r0AE4MctMR

New England drafted Stidham in the fourth round last year, and he spent his rookie campaign backing up arguably the best quarterback of all time. The 23-year-old has familiarity with the Patriots system, but so does Hoyer.

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Hoyer was originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009. The Michigan State alumnus held the clipboard behind Brady through 2011 prior to leaving the Patriots for stints with the Arizona Cardinals (2012), Cleveland Browns (2013-14), Houston Texans (2015), Chicago Bears (2016) and San Francisco 49ers (2017), and later returned to New England in November 2017 until his release in August 2019.

Hoyer is 16-22 with 8,910 yards, 43 touchdowns and 29 interceptions in 38 games as an NFL starter.

Stidham's game experience is much more limited as a pro with just 14 yards and one pick on 2-of-4 passing across three appearances last season.

However, Patriots veteran cornerback and team captain Devin McCourty spoke highly of Stidham during his Double Coverage podcast with his twin brother and fellow Pats defensive back Jason McCourty late last month (h/t Nick Shook of NFL.com):

"To me, the best thing for Stiddy was that he had to go against our defense every week. He didn't have it easy. I love his poise. I would be faking a blitz sometimes and we'd make eye contact and he'd just start smiling and laughing.

"To me, there were weeks where he was just on point. And those were some of our best weeks as a defense, mainly because Stiddy ate us up in practice leading up to the game, and I think put more pressure on us."

Stidham played college football at Baylor (2015) before transferring to Auburn, where he completed 63.6 percent of this throws for 5,952 yards, 36 touchdowns and 11 picks across 17 games in 2017 and '18.

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