Who Will Be The Week 1 QB for the Patriots, and a Different/Anti-Brady Sentiment From Me...
-- Who will be the Patriots Week 1 starting quarterback? Recently signed Brian Hoyer? 2nd-year youngster Jarrett Stidham? Or…’other’?
Let’s take a crack at this, for fun…
What do we know going into the guessing game?
a) The Patriots were full well ready to move on from Tom Brady. They could’ve made efforts to keep him, they didn’t want to…didn’t really try. They were moving on – this situation has not caught them flat-footed, or by surprise, or reeling.
b) None of the obvious names interested them either… Not Rivers, Bridgewater, Mariota, Foles, etc.
So…what are the Patriots going to do?
Here are my top guesses/some wild speculations…
1) Andy Dalton?
They are waiting for Andy Dalton to be released. You think that’s stupid, but the Patriots are typically playing chess and 28+ other teams and most all analysts/fans are playing checkers, as the saying goes.
YOU (we/us) are hysterical about the QB position getting filled and wondering what the Patriots will do. But Belichick is not. He has a plan A and B and C, and he’s just waiting for the mouse trap to get sprung. We’ve seen this a million times over the years -- Belichick is going to the same thing he’s always done…be smart, be patient and wait for the right timing/economics. If there is something he really wants to pounce on, he’ll pounce. He hasn’t pounced yet.
No other team is trading anything to Cincy for Andy Dalton. The media has convinced themselves and all of us that Dalton is so terrible.
You would tell Joe Burrow to run away from the Cincinnati Bengals…leverage out of going there. Why? Because you know the Bengals are arguably one of the top 3 worst-run teams in the NFL (top two in the state of Ohio). You know Burrow is doomed there, right? That’s what you’re thinking. Well, if that franchise is so stingy and behind the times why doesn’t Andy Dalton get any credit at all for taking this heap to the playoffs for five straight seasons the moment he walked into the building? Do you think it was all genius Marvin Lewis coaching?
Dalton was 50-26-1 his first five seasons in Cincy. Don’t we like ‘winners’…or do we only label ‘winners’ for the QBs we like/we’re told by the never-wrong football media we should like?
BUT-BUT-BUT Dalton has fallen so far off since then! Really? After his 50-26-1 first five seasons he went 6-9-1, 7-9, 5-6 as a starter the following three seasons…18-24-1 with this under-attended to, under-talented, under-everythinged franchise…in a division with Baltimore and Pittsburgh being ‘always good’ and ‘well run’. Remember that about Dalton, he was going toe-to-toe with winning the AFC North with Ben and the Ravens, when he was a rookie/younger QB. How good is that...but he never gets credit?
Since Andy Dalton hit the AFC North, he won the division twice. Big Ben won it three times. We act like Ben is nine million miles better, and he has been better statistically, but what if that has somewhat to do with his ‘surroundings’, his ‘weapons’, the organizational advantage – what if Dalton is about to get an organizational upgrade?
When Cincy was fading off from Dalton's stunning first five seasons, the next three seasons (2016-20180, Dalton amassed 64 TD passes and 31 picks in 43 games…not terrible. He was not failing. He was solid enough.
Also, remember when Ryan Tannehill used to suck…but then changed franchises/coaches and now you love him, and he just landed a $100+ million deal? Isn’t Andy Dalton better than or equal-ish to Ryan Tannehill? Hasn’t he always been?
I got you thinking this Dalton move isn’t so bad now, huh? Look at you…possible Andy Dalton fan! Good for you.
No team is trading for Dalton and that contract. Cincinnati isn’t keeping Dalton either. Why would they? They can cut him for no cap hit and save $17.7M in cap space and keep him away from Joe Burrow, then the Pats can then sign him, and the Bengals will get a compensation draft pick in a year. Or the Patriots can stop the madness and just deal a 2nd-round pick for him (and get like a 5th-round pick back to lessen the blow/deal) and be done with it…and the Pats eventual pick in the 5th round will likely be better than whatever the Bengals concoct to take with the hypothetical 2nd/NE pick anyway.
I’m not trying to convince you Andy Dalton is a Hall of Famer, I’m just saying he’s not the piece of trash the media makes him out to be…and Belichick is using that to his advantage, using the completely clueless media to his advantage in the marketplace?
Dalton is ‘only’ 32 years old…young for an old QB these days.
But, maybe, the Bengals trade the #1 pick and don’t draft an obvious QB and just stick by long-time employee Andy Dalton for ‘Bengals’ reasons’. Belichick has his plan Bs as needed.
2: They do nothing.
They didn’t keep Brady. They didn’t try to get a big name free agent.
They haven’t made a slick trade for a star or prospect QB (if Belichick comes calling for your young QB, no one would likely trade him to Bill out of fear…and that QB would instantly have a contractual value boost for years to come). It’s hard for Belichick to make trades…everyone is in fear of ‘what he knows’.
The Pats run Hoyer to start, bring along Stidham and then reassess for 2021...or just start Stidham with Hoyer as his 'mentor'.
3: Trade for Baker Mayfield.
I think the Patriots would love to acquire Baker, but the Browns would be too chicken to make this deal right now. There’s a fear that Belichick embarrasses them again, and a fear that the fanbase PR would be too bad.
I think Baker will wind up on the Patriots, eventually. Andy Dalton could be the potential bridge to Baker. As the Browns collapse, and Baker wants out…out and away from another nightmare Ohio NFL organization…Belichick can swoop in when the Browns are reeling. The Baker market hasn’t hit ‘value’ just yet for Belichick, I don’t suspect. He’s patiently waiting to strip the Browns of talent once again.
4: Draft Jalen Hurts
New England can get with the new coming era of Lamar Jackson-style QB by getting a very interesting one in the draft (see our CFM scouting report for a take you’re not hearing in the mainstream on Hurts).
Josh McDaniels wanted to change the game with Tim Tebow…now he can with Hurts. Jalen has the Alabama background Belichick has special insight to from Nick Saban. No matter what New England does…they could still draft Hurts.
I don’t think it will be Cam, Jameis, Flacco, Brissett, Taysom either. I wonder about them acquiring Trubisky on the cheap, but the Bears would be too afraid Bill would 'fix' him and ex-GM/now analyst Mike Lombardi would try and talk him out of it (or Mike would suddenly like Trubisky’s upside if Bill did deal for him).
All I know is...Belichick is not in a panic about this, because he has a patience and a plan. Hasn't he always been a step ahead of everyone for a few decades now?
-- For fun, more of my anti-Tom Brady thoughts (I still believe he is the greatest QB of all time, I’m just amazed at what is happening/what he is doing this offseason)…
Has anyone else’s B.S. alarm been tripped by all these ‘Brady wanted a divorce from Belichick all along’ stories?
Here’s the spin from every writer/analyst, it seems to me – Brady was fed up with Belichick being so rough/gruff on him and was upset that they didn’t get him any weapons…and oh how delightful it will be to work with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin (two WRs no one really cared about until terrible, former #1 QB of the NFL future for nearly every analyst (not me), Jameis Winston was allowed to be a mad bomber in all 2019 games because he had no defense and was usually down on the scoreboard from throwing pick sixes and was working all-pass comeback efforts where the defenses was sitting back begging him to throw)!!!
Why is there such a swoon to Brady by the media as the sympathetic figure…as ‘the guy who left a bad relationship’?
It feels to me like he really got fired but is trying to tell all his friends and family (and the media among them) ‘I wasn’t fired, I quit’. And the media is running with that narrative to coddle the suddenly very diva, accessible Tom Brady.
Per usual, not a peep from Belichick.
Here’s the simple truth, the baseline of all of this – the Patriots did not seriously engage Brady returning. They were moving on. They could have done something last year. They could have done something crazy this year. They definitely had to have ‘a phone call’ (that supposedly went bad….geez, I wonder which side of the call leaked that?) a few weeks ago and Bill had to get an offer (a lower one) on record with Brady -- because if they didn’t there would have been extra hell to pay. The greatest coach and evaluator of current NFL talent in the history of the NFL thinks Brady isn’t worth ‘it’ anymore – why isn’t the main headline/thinking in all of this?
When you’re not sure how to interpret a football situation/move…it’s safe to side with Belichick’s thinking. That’s going to be right more than wrong by a lot over time.
I don’t think Brady was begging to be back in New England either. He might have if he had a similar/better offer (than he got) from the Pats, I suspect…but he didn’t. Brady wanted to be ‘loved’…wined and dined. Nothing wrong with that. It’s good for his brand and leveraging salary negotiations. I’m just noting – what Brady wanted (to be pursued, to get attention, to get paid, to have freedoms)…Belichick could have given, but he ascertained Brady wasn’t worth it anymore. Right or wrong…Belichick wanted out. I’m sure he sees it as the ‘right’ timing.
All along, if Brady was wanting to leave New England, he had to be thinking that San Francisco or Tennessee would make their move. HE’S TOM BRADY, I’m sure he was thinking. He could name his destination. Tennessee and his supposed BFF coach, Mike Vrabel passed. Think about it – here’s how interested the Titans were in Brady…they gave Ryan Tannehill a bigger deal with more guaranteed money. Vrabel was smart…he didn’t have to think ‘What would Belichick do (WWBD)?’ He already knew WWBD, D for ‘did’.
The 49ers were rumored to be the #1 contender a few weeks before free agency opened up. The very smart Kyle Shanahan, well, he very smartly passed. I thought Brady wanted to end his career in his home area? I’m sure he did…but Kyle Shanahan said, ‘no thank you’ as well.
The Colts jumped on Philip Rivers. Carolina grabbed Teddy Bridgewater.
As soon as free agency discussions were legally open, Brady was left with the Coronavirus shutdown frozen pizza options at the grocery store teams in the NFL. Go try to find a pepperoni or sausage frozen pizza at the grocery store – ain’t happening. I did see the Spinach-Mushroom, Veggie Deluxe, and Pineapple-Ham frozen pizzas still available for purchase. Brady was being courted by Las Vegas, the L.A. Chargers, and Tampa Bay and then the Pineapple-Ham/Las Vegas Raiders dropped out. Veggie Deluxe signed him. The Buccaneers are known for being one of the worst run, worst performing franchises in the NFL – that’s where Brady had to slum it to.
Brady wound up like that Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live) skit where her character is that scuzzy/slutty barfly who is always waiting around until the bar is down to just her (because she is so unappealing, by character) and the last remaining scuzzy/slutty dude (because he is so unappealing) remaining to hook up with because it’s all the options they were both left with. In his desperation for attention and money (what else could it be?), Brady left the bar with the Buccaneers.
Don’t give me ‘this (Tampa Bay) is where Brady wanted to play’. He’s not that dumb. All his top choices passed/didn’t give him the money or stroke he wanted. He wasn’t running the Patriots…Bill was. He wasn’t going to go run the 49ers or Titans. He is going to get full candy for dinner by his personal/paid for cheerleader Bruce Arians. Bruce, you were chosen for a reason by Brady – and it wasn’t your winning culture, coaching prowess, or historically great organization. Bruce, you were the tool to get Brady what he was left with, what he was after – fawning attention and cash. It’s a free country…good for Tom.
…oh, and Tom gets to move TB12 there and let his personal trainer have a key to the building and start working with the players, etc., and using everything as his own playground. The TB12 brand is advanced. Wins and losses are not what Brady is after now – he is after more stats for the record books, more money (he doesn’t need), and furthering his brand for post football (smart of him) – if wins come, that’s cool. Bill Belichick smelled it a few years ago, and he assessed it was best to move on.
Tampa Bay is not pure in this either, which is not a crime. They have the same ‘co-enabler’ role/goals/benefits. They will let Brady walk over them because now people care about Tampa Bay football for a year, finally. Ticket sales. Jersey sales. It’s fun. Wins and losses are secondary, because Tampa rarely ‘wins’ anyway. It’s smart by Tampa Bay…unless this blows up in their faces, and then what? You think the masses will blame Tom or Tampa management if it fails/falls short?
Oh, and none of this will answer the ultimate ‘Chicken or the Egg’ question of ‘Was it Bill or was it Tom?’ that caused all the success in New England? Brady is way past his prime. If Tom fails in 2020…it doesn’t prove anything about the past. If Brady wins the Super Bowl this year – I will tip my cap and he should be enshrined into his own wing of the football Hall of Fame without any waiting period.
All I know is this – if Tampa Bay isn’t playing on the opening game Thursday Night game…then what the hell are we doing? Tampa Bay at Kansas City…are you kidding me with those ratings!! I cannot wait!!
Oh, and if you think New England is trading Julian Edelman to New England… Ask yourself if you think Belichick is going to help Brady look any better in this. Brady has one comfortable throw – to Edelman. Bill is not going to give him that. He’ll hold Edelman hostage in New England for the next two seasons…paying him not to play if he has to. If Belichick trades Edelman to Tampa Bay, then he must be really sure that whole thing is on the verge of collapse and he wants it to implode together.
How does Brady leaving NE and going to TB affect the projections for things for fantasy…dynasty? Our Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball reporting and top 600 player values/rankings have been in full gear all March and will be reporting and updating 2020 projections every week!
2020 Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball Subscriptions Now Available
It’s time for season #2 of our last season’s debut subscription…Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball.
I created Dynasty offseason as a way to communicate rankings/valuations on (500+) existing players (and also 400+ IDPs) for Dynasty and Keeper planning purposes (trades, etc.) as well as getting the jump on Best Ball/MFL drafts that begin in February and run all the rest of the year.
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Dynasty Offseason subscriptions will be available when College Football Metrics begins (1/3/20), and you can purchase as a combo or just individually the one you want/need. However, the Dynasty Offseason rankings, etc., will not kickoff until right after the Super Bowl (articles and reports will post in January but player rankings/mock drafts not until past the Super Bowl)…and then we pile in material daily/weekly until opening day of the new NFL season.
If you were not a part of the Dynasty Offseason program last year, I will have more details on it on my playoff game recaps in 2020 and some additional explanation on Best Ball/MFL leagues, how to get started in them, how they work, etc. – if you’re not doing Best Ball/MFLs…you are missing out.
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