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All Reports Indicate Patriots Really, Really Like Jarrett Stidham At Quarterback

BOSTON (CBS) -- Nobody ever envisioned the post-Tom Brady era involving Andy Dalton. Fortunately, it looks like Bill Belichick and his staff feel the same.

While one report said that the Patriots had some interest in the now-former Bengals quarterback, there have been no indications that the team will actually pursue the veteran QB. That's apparently in large part due to the team's belief in Jarrett Stidham.

The second-year signal caller may indeed be ready to step up as the team's starter in 2020, replacing the legendary Tom Brady. At least, based on what many reporters are saying, that appears to be the case.

Here's a collection of some post-draft commentary on Stidham that's come out in the past week, after the Patriots decided to not draft a quarterback.

Mike Reiss, ESPN

Reiss joined ESPN's "Get Up" twice this week, first to take questions on Cam Newton, and then to take questions about Andy Dalton. For both QBs, Reiss said the Patriots aren't interested. If they were interested, it would only be in the context of enhancing the situation for Stidham.

Here's what Reiss said.

May 1:

"Everyone I talk to around the Patriots, it really comes back to two words: Jarrett Stidham. They're really intrigued to see what he can do. So specific to Andy Dalton, I didn't get any sense from anyone around the Patriots that when he became available [Thursday] that there was an aggressive push to sort of see where that would lead. If anything, it would be a conversation of due diligence and really asking the question, 'How would bringing in a player like Dalton supplement what they have in Stidham, not supplant him?' And that's knowing they also have veteran Brian Hoyer in the room, who they really feel comfortable with as well."

"I will say this: They're not going to say that [Stidham is the starting QB]. Because one, they don't want to put the pressure on him. It's only his second year. And two, there is still a blind spot there for the Patriots. Until a quarterback actually goes out and does it, you do need to protect yourself. And so I think the way they look at it, is every decision that they're going to make is to try to put Stidham in the best position to succeed, and they protect themselves with a veteran insurance policy behind him in Brian Hoyer."

April 30:

"The short answer [to why the Patriots aren't interested in Cam Newton] is that they are intrigued enough with what they've seen from Jarrett Stidham, that they want to keep investing in him. On Saturday night after the draft, Bill Belichick said that Stidham improved a lot behind the scenes last year and that they will see where that takes him. And in the context of this conversation, what does Stidham have going for him compared to Cam Newton? Youth, health, he's a known system fit, he's a known culture fit. And when you talk about what the Patriots generally value in quarterback play, they boil it down to two things: accuracy and decision-making. And Stidham has really rated favorably from a statistical standpoint over his career.

"So really what they're doing is they're trying to put the pieces around Jarrett Stidham to put him in the best position to succeed. That includes veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer alongside him, a player that Belichick says, 'We know what he brings us -- a steady level of play.' So if things go off track with Stidham, they feel comfortable with Hoyer alongside him."

Jeff Howe, The Athletic

After the Patriots didn't draft a quarterback, Howe wrote a collection of post-draft thoughts.  In it, he included the following nuggets.

"Bill Belichick declared with his actions there wasn't a quarterback in this draft within reasonable striking distance who was better than Stidham. ... Regardless of the compromised offseason workout program, Stidham was going to be light years ahead of anyone they drafted at No. 23 or later."

"... it'd be reasonable for the Pats to project him as the third-ranked quarterback in this class. He'd certainly be behind Joe Burrow and most likely behind Tua Tagovailoa, pending injury evaluation. As for Justin Herbert? There's a perception by some teams that he's a candidate to be a bust."

Earlier this offseason, Howe wrote a story on Stidham, and he shared this quote from Jordan Palmer, Stidham's throwing coach:

"To be clear, I think he is a star, and he is going to be a big-time franchise quarterback. I have felt that way for a couple years now. I'm totally fine saying that. I don't care that he went fourth round. I think he is legitimate. He is going to be the leader of New England for a long time, whenever that starts. Go ahead and jump on that bandwagon."

Doug Kyed,

Patriots beat writer Doug Kyed shared this tidbit on Stidham:

"I was told after the draft that the Patriots like Stidham more than they liked Jimmy Garoppolo. And I know what you're thinking: 'typical Patriots spin.' That ain't it. This isn't coming from someone who stands to gain anything by pumping up the Patriots."

"Stidham played well in the preseason, and he continued to improve in practice throughout the regular season. The Patriots have only grown to like Stidham more since drafting him."

"The Patriots have now not re-signed Tom Brady, passed on trading for Nick Foles, didn't sign Teddy Bridgewater, Case Keenum, Phillip Rivers, Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston and have shown no interest in Newton. What further proof do you need that the Patriots really, really like Stidham?"

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report

From a national perspective, Miller addressed why the Patriots didn't draft a QB or sign a veteran free agent to kick off the post-Tom Brady era.

Miller included this quote from an AFC scout:

"People around the league can't help but think of some great Patriots conspiracy that they'll trade up for a quarterback. First it was Baker [Mayfield], then it was Tua [Tagovailoa]. Spoiler alert: They really like Stidham."

An NFL agent spoke to Miller and said that his offseason calls to New England about quarterbacks went unanswered. According to that agent, "They like the guy they have."

Miller added this:

"They really believe in him," said another pro personnel scout. "The rumor was that Belichick, Caserio and Josh [McDaniels] think they can win with Stidham on a rookie contract."

And one more:

"Said the one Patriots staffer who would return a text for this piece, 'Go ahead and get excited about him.'"

And the kicker:

"Why did the Patriots pass on every quarterback outside of the top three? Why didn't they package their stockpile of draft capital to move up for a quarterback?

"Simple -- it's because they already have their guy. This is Jarrett Stidham's team now."

Indeed, with every day that passes without the Patriots making a run at Newton or Dalton or any other veteran, it appears that the duo of Stidham and Hoyer is precisely what the team wants at quarterback for 2020.

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