Thursday’s news that the New England Patriots made a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders to end Jarrett Stidham’s time with the club will likely be just a footnote around the league, but it certainly caps off a tough run here for the former 4th-round pick.
The two teams made a deal that saw the Patriots send Stidham and a 7th-round pick in 2023 to the Raiders in exchange for a 6th-round pick next year, ending one of the fastest rises and falls we’ve seen for a player in recent years.
After being taken in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Stidham quickly rose up the depth chart, replacing backup Brian Hoyer behind quarterback Tom Brady for his rookie season. When the news broke that Brady wouldn’t be returning in 2020, there were quite a few reports talking about how confident the club was internally with Stidham. In fact, it sounded like they were ready to potentially allow him to compete for the starting role that season.
That notion was reinforced further when, despite an obvious need at quarterback, the Patriots went so far as to not address it at all in the draft that year. That seemed to indicate that the job was Stidham’s to lose.
However, something seemed to change from that point. We saw Cam Newton brought in prior to training camp, which completely changed the dynamic heading into the preseason. But unlike Mac Jones, Stidham didn’t go out into camp with the same fire and precision. There was never really a battle between the second-year QB and the veteran.
Most of training camp that year felt like it was seemingly spent on bringing Newton up to speed while Stidham couldn’t ever get into gear. The second-year QB threw a slew of interceptions during the early part of camp and was extremely inconsistent.
According to NBC Boston reporter Tom Curran, Stidham’s number one problem was apparently the coaches just didn’t trust him. They were seemingly frustrated by all his turnovers during that preseason, which ended up being a continuation of what they had also seen during practices as they went further into the season. How he handled Newton’s arrival also appeared to be something they were disappointed with.
“From what I’m gathering, the Patriots don’t feel very good about Jarrett Stidham from, really July on,” Curran said in November of that season. “The things that have gone on with him in terms of — the absence of things that have gone on with him. No compete in terms of trying to win that job away from Cam Newton, and I think that is a big strike against him.”
That season, Hoyer was the one who emerged as Newton’s back-up, with the veteran getting the call against Kansas City after Newton tested positive for COVID-19. But Hoyer had a disastrous outing, including an inexcusable moment toward the end of the half when he mismanaged the clock after taking a sack while thinking he still had a timeout left. Prior to that, the team was trailing just 6-3 and had made it down to the Chiefs’ 9-yard line. With 0:10 left to go, rather than throw the ball away and give kicker Nick Folk a chance to knot the score heading into the half, Hoyer’s blunder proved costly.
The killer for Hoyer later came in the 3rd quarter when he was sacked and lost the football after New England had again driven down to the Chiefs’ 10-yard line. Kansas City grabbed the momentum off that turnover, scoring a touchdown on the ensuing possession, and that was it. Stidham took over from there and finished the game, although he didn’t fare much better. He threw a touchdown to N’Keal Harry on his first possession but followed that up with a pick-six on his next drive.
That game dropped Hoyer down the depth chart, and saw Stidham move ahead of him. However, the up and down play of Stidham more or less sums up things for a young quarterback who just seemed to be inconsistent while never being able to establish himself. He would go on to appear on the right and wrong end of blowouts, appearing in 5 games while throwing two touchdowns and 3 interceptions that season.
He spent much of last season dealing with a back injury, which kept him out of training camp and he was later placed on injured reserve, with the club eventually activating him in November.
But anyone hoping to see him make a comeback will likely have to follow his progress in Las Vegas. How he’ll factor into things out there with Josh McDaniels remains to be seen, but for now, 2022 4th-round selection, QB Bailey Zappe, will likely be the one who takes Stidham’s place here on the depth chart.
In the meantime, Stidham moves on and it closes the book on a crazy run for him here in New England. Fortunately, the fact McDaniels wanted him at least gives him an opportunity to continue his career. As we’ve seen, these chances certainly don’t last forever, so now it’s definitely up to him to take advantage of it.
Posted Under: 2022 Patriots Offseason
Tags: 2022 Patriots Offseason Bill Belichick Josh McDaniels Las Vegas Raiders New England Patriots