Aaron Rodgers spent three years learning from one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, Brett Favre. Now, Rodgers is one of the league’s best quarterbacks and has a promising career ahead of him. His success story should be what the New England Patriots have in mind for current backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. He clearly has the potential to be a solid passer in the NFL and could easily start for a few teams right now. Trading Mallett now would probably fetch the Patriots at least a second round pick and possibly an additional late-round pick, but they should resist this instant gratification.
If the Patriots trade away Mallett, they would need to either find a quarterback in the draft at some point between now and 2017 or they would need to trade for an already established quarterback soon before or right after Brady retires. As long as Brady and Belichick are together, the Patriots will always be in contention and should consistently hold a draft spot between 24-32. While it’s possible for star quarterbacks to emerge from late in the draft a la Tom Brady, it is very unlikely. Mallett was a steal when the Patriots drafted him, so to trade him now seems like a wasted opportunity. The chances of trading for a quarterback would depend on the state of the NFL and the Patriots at the time Brady chooses to retire. If they have to give up anything more than a second round pick (what they would get for Mallett), it would have to be for an already established quarterback that can put the Pats back in contention right away. Trading for an unproven player to groom into a starter would not only be a huge risk, but also a ridiculous choice since they would have already given up Mallett who already knew the playbook and system and learned from Belichick and Brady, the best quarterback/coach tandem of all time.
Whomever takes over for Brady one day will have enormous shoes to fill and will have to constantly live up to the scrutiny and high standards that Patriots fans have grown accustomed to. They will be compared to Brady endlessly (at least in their first few years) and if they don’t live up to expectations quickly, the fans will get impatient. The best possible hope for New England fans at this point is to hope the Pats resist the temptation to trade him and instead groom him into the future of the franchise.