Rumors: Patriots will draft a QB regardless of Tom Brady outcome

According to sources cited in a recent report, the New England Patriots plan to draft a quarterback regardless of whether or not they retain Tom Brady.

It’s hard to know which sources to trust these days with all the reports and theories flying around regarding the New England Patriots and who will be their quarterback in 2020.

Some experts, analysts, and fans swear by the fact that Tom Brady will return for at least another season or two to close out his career with the only team he’s ever known. They believe that all of this posturing is just good business on the parts of the Patriots and Brady’s camp, and that in the end, a deal will be reached that works for both sides.

Others think the writing has long been on the wall for this partnership, and that Brady leaving New England is a foregone conclusion at this point. They point to the amount of money he could make elsewhere, the superior offensive weaponry on other teams, and the reported historical friction between Brady and Bill Belichick as all being proof that it’s not a matter of whether Brady will leave — it’s just a matter of where he’s going to go.

According to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, only one thing is certain regarding the Patriots’ QB slot … and it actually has nothing to do with Brady. Here’s what Miller had to say in a brief blurb about the buzz around New England at the NFL combine this week:

“A quarterback will be drafted by New England this year, according to one source within the team. Whether that’s in Round 1 or later depends on Tom Brady’s free-agency decision. League sources still believe Brady returns to the Patriots for 2020.”

In the eyes of this humble sportswriter, Miller’s prediction would be the best possible scenario for New England and its many fans this spring. If indeed his league sources are correct and Brady ends up returning to the Patriots for 2020 (and possibly 2021 at least), there’s almost a 100% chance he retires as a Patriot, giving us all the storybook ending we deserve.

If he and Belichick win a seventh title together, even better obviously. But at the very least, we’d all get to skip the agonizing and bizarre scenario of seeing Brady don a No. 12 uniform for another team in his final season or two.

Furthermore, if the Patriots do indeed take a quarterback at some point in this upcoming draft, it increases the chances that Belichick and the New England brain trust might be able to hit on a potential long-term replacement for Brady when he retires.

Even if all goes according to plan and we get another year or two out of Tom Terrific, there needs to be a succession plan in place. Brady turns 43 before the regular season rolls around, and Jarrett Stidham is still an unproven and untested commodity.

Next: Patriots will target mid-range, low-cost QB if Brady leaves

Adding another QB to the depth chart just makes sense at this point. Ideally, Brady goes out and has a farewell tour for the length of one final contract with the Pats, while Stidham and another young gun get to learn behind him and battle it out in training camp, practice, and the preseason to see who has more upside.