The New England Patriots’ 2020 offseason saw considerable turnover, most prominently at the most important position in the game: after two decades as the team’s starting quarterback, Tom Brady left the Patriots in unrestricted free agency to sign a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His departure left an enormous hole within New England’s offense, but it seems as if the team is willing to use second-year passer Jarrett Stidham to fill it.
Stidham, who served as Brady’s backup in 2019 and appeared a mere four passes during the regular season, has therefore been named one of the winners of this year’s offseason by ESPN analyst Bill Barnwell:
Stidham is one of the most obvious victors of the past few months. We all knew the Patriots and Tom Brady would come to terms on a deal ... until they didn’t. Then we all knew that the Pats were going to acquire Nick Foles or Andy Dalton or pull off some impossible run up the draft board for Tua Tagovailoa ... and that didn’t happen either. Through the entire player acquisition window, the only competition the Patriots added for Stidham is veteran Brian Hoyer, who lost his last battle with Stidham for the backup spot in training camp in 2019. Barring a last-second move for Cam Newton, Stidham is going to be the Week 1 starter for the Patriots. [...] It’s obviously way too early to say anything about how he will perform, but he has gone from being an afterthought to taking the reins for Bill Belichick & Co.
Barnwell added that Stidham will become one of only two mid-round quarterbacks to come out of last year’s draft to eventually hold a starting position this year, the other being the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Gardner Minshew. While Minshew was drafted in the sixth round, Stidham came off the board two rounds earlier: the Patriots picked him in the fourth, but despite his draft status are apparently pleased with his progress so far.
While a lot can change before the regular season gets underway, it seems as if New England will ride with the Auburn product in 2020 — making him the big benefactor of Brady leaving the organization after the most successful run in league history.