Tom Brady's days with the New England Patriots could finally be coming to a close. That comes from NBC Sports Boston's Tom Curran, who yesterday wrote this about the end of the Brady era: "unless there’s a radical course change in the next 90 days, that’s what’s coming."
So who will replace Brady? It won't be confirmed NFL starting level quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett or Jimmy Garoppolo -- both of whom were drafted by the Patriots in the last five years and currently hold a combined record of 16-8 this season. Instead, it will most likely be Jarrett Stidham, who the Patriots drafted out of Auburn in April. Stidham has had the opportunity to learn under the tutelage of Brady as well as Brian Hoyer and Cody Kessler, so there's little doubt he will succeed in New England.
But what if he doesn't? The Patriots currently have 12 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, including their own first-rounder and three third-rounders. Could the Patriots be in the market for a veteran quarterback who is on the market -- and would any of them make sense for Bill Belichick?
If Brady leaves and they don't trade for anyone, you know they'll take a QB with one of those picks. The Patriots have taken a QB in three out of the last four drafts and four of the last six while Tom Brady fought off thoughts of retirement and mortality. There's no way to tell what mid-round QB Belichick might fancy next spring, but we can take some guesses.
1. Philip Rivers
Rivers deserves a shot with a contender. Belichick deserves a shot at proving that he made Brady and not the other way around. This is the combination that Dean Spanos deserves to see win a Super Bowl.
2. Cam Newton
When was Newton last truly healthy? If Cam needs a fresh start somewhere, why not New England? If healthy, he would make an excellent short-term solution to keep New England atop the AFC East.
3. Colin Kaepernick
He's a legitimate NFL quarterback. He's well-rested. He's affordable. Belichick has been through the Tim Tebow circus and terrifies the media, but with Antonio Brown, he's shown that you can annoy him into cutting ties with someone.
4. Jameis Winston
Winston is the second-leading passer in the NFL this season and is set to hit the open market in the offseason. He has thrown more touchdowns than Brady and has a few more interceptions, but he will only be 26-years-old next season.
5. Eli Manning
Manning's time with the New York Giants is over and this would be the funniest possible replacement for Brady. Manning is younger than Brady and had a comparable season statistically in 2018, on an inferior team. The only people who wouldn't want to see this are Patriots fans.
Honorable Mentions: Dak Prescott, who will be re-signed by the Cowboys if Jerry Jones even catches a whiff of interest from the Pats. Matt Moore, a career backup who you can't believe hasn't already spent three seasons backing up Tom Brady. Any of the Saints or Titans quarterbacks.