"If a quarterback has been perceived to be available, the Patriots have picked up the phone," Howe added.
The Patriots will reportedly remain active on the trade market, with Deshaun Watson, Jimmy Garoppolo, Marcus Mariota and Sam Darnold among those in the mix, per Howe. The hope is any asking price will go down as the draft approaches.
Cam Newton spent last season as the starter in Foxborough but struggled with consistency and finished with eight passing touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His 12 rushing scores weren't enough to prevent the team's first losing record (7-9) since 2000.
Brian Hoyer was the only other signal-caller to start a game last season, but both he and Newton are free agents, leaving only Jarrett Stidham and practice-squad rookie Jacob Dolegala under contract.
Considering the Patriots didn't trust Stidham to run the offense last season, it's hard to imagine his 44 pass attempts in 2020 did enough to change their minds.
The organization will likely have to be aggressive this offseason and find a starting quarterback through a trade, free agency or the draft, where they hold the No. 15 pick in the first round.