Some news and notes on this Friday:
1) While looking through some recent analysis, ESPN’s Field Yates went through all 32 teams on Thursday to project who he believes will be the starting quarterback for each Franchise.
The piece on ESPN+, which requires a subscription, was also updated following the Eagles trade with Indianapolis on Thursday that sent Carson Wentz to the Colts. There were some notable names included, with only a handful of clubs who he believes will be starting someone new next season.
Obviously, the one everyone is wondering about is the Patriots, and Yates has a name that many of us believe is a possibility. He believes that Marcus Mariota will be lining up under center in 2021, which given how things are beginning to play out elsewhere makes sense.
The Patriots are among a group of teams that are too far from the top of the draft order to be a likely landing spot for the top-draft-prospect quarterbacks, meaning we’re examining other veteran options who could be logical fits. While a Cam Newton return isn’t totally ruled out, it’s an unlikely option. The 27-year-old Mariota is under contract for one more year with the Raiders but carries a cap charge of $10.725M, an unlikely tab for them to pay for a backup in a cap-tightened year.
Be it via a trade or cut, Mariota could find a new home this offseason … and the Patriots are a logical fit.
Out in San Francisco, barring a deal for someone like Deshaun Watson or something significant, they appear ready to stick with Jimmy Garoppolo since it makes sense to only make a change if it’s an upgrade to the position. Yates also projects Garoppolo to stay put.
However, he does predict some changes. He has Ryan Fitzpatrick landing in Washington, the Texans dealing Watson to Carolina, which has been a rumor gaining momentum recently. He also predicts the Jets will draft and start BYU QB Zach Wilson in 2021, while sending Sam Darnold to Chicago.
As for Mariota, he showed some flashes at the end of last season for the Raiders and it would be interesting to see what Josh McDaniels might be able to do with him. Given the resurgence Ryan Tannehill has seen down in Tennessee, the obvious hope would be that the Patriots could pull off the same with Mariota. Again, it’s early and we’ll have to see how it plays out, but after what we went through last season with Cam Newton, it would certainly be intriguing to see what the offense might look like with the former 27-year-old Titans QB in this offense.
2) Meanwhile, when it came to Wentz, it doesn’t sound like the Patriots were ever in that sweepstakes.
According to the NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, he was told that the Patriots “had no real interest” in acquiring him.
Not that this comes as a surprise, but the #Patriots had no real interest in acquiring Carson Wentz, per source.
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) February 18, 2021
The cost to acquire him wasn’t as bad as some had thought, given that it took a 3rd-round pick and a conditional second (which could turn into a first depending on Wentz’ playing time and if Indianapolis reaches the postseason). But it’s obvious that the Patriots are clearly going in another direction, although it will probably be a while before we find out what that is.
3) As for Watson, the Wentz deal now has some wondering what the future holds for the Texans QB, who remains adamant about being traded.
Down in Houston, Texans reporter John McClain pointed out that Watson is considering Denver after former Texans safety Kareem Jackson apparently made a convincing recruiting effort. McClain also believes San Francisco is a possibility, as well as Carolina.
The San Francisco mention obviously raises an eyebrow here but don’t forget, if Houston deals him they’re going to need a quarterback. Texans GM Nick Caserio is certainly familiar enough with Garoppolo that they may opt to include him in the deal, which would effectively end any shot the Patriots would have at landing him.
We’ll have to see how it plays out, but McClain pointed out that nothing has changed since last Friday, when chairman Cal McNair drew a line in the stand about Watson after saying in a telephone interview: “Deshaun is a Texan, and he’s going to be a Texan.”
4) Meanwhile, getting back to ESPN+, ESPN analysts Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler went team-by-team across the league looking at who they believe could be potential cut candidates and there were a couple of names that stood out in terms of the Patriots.
They believe that Julian Edelman would likely be the biggest surprise, but given his age and recent run of injuries, they feel it could cause the team to part with him heading into 2021.
“An Edelman cut would surprise a lot of people, but he’s coming off a season in which he played just six games and the team has younger receivers who likely are a bigger part of its future,” they write. “It might be best to hasten the inevitable and let Edelman go be free to sign with the Buccaneers.”
Reuniting with Tom Brady and having a shot at making one more championship run for Edelman would certainly make sense, especially considering that the Patriots will be building around another quarterback as they move on to the next chapter. It would be tough to see him go, but seeing him join Rob Gronkowski and Brady in Tampa likely wouldn’t shock anyone.
As for one other potential cut, Sony Michel also made the list. Michel’s status will be interesting given where he is in his contract, but Damien Harris’ performance last season saw a resurgence by the former Georgia running back, who looked as good as he ever did down the stretch. As a result, the two together would certainly make quite a pairing if they can keep them together for one more year.
5) One bit of good news is that CLNS Media’s Evan Lazar reported that free-agent defensive lineman Adam Butler may be back next season.
According to Lazar, the free agent and the club have shown a “mutual interest in orchestrating a return”, which would certainly be good news.
There’s mutual interest between the #Patriots and Adam Butler in orchestrating a return. I’m told the Pats want Butler back.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) February 19, 2021
Butler was one of the bright spots in New England’s defense, with the 26-year old notching 34 tackles (18 solo, 16 assisted) in 2020, as well as 4 sacks. He also finished the season with 2 passes defended.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Adam Butler Carson Wentz Damien Harris Deshaun Watson Jimmy Garoppolo Julian Edelman Kareem Jackson Marcus Mariota New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski Ryan Fitzpatrick San Francisco 49ers Sony Michel Tom Brady Zach Wilson