What does Cody Kessler’s release mean for the New England Patriots?

The New England Patriots’ decision to release veteran quarterback Cody Kessler has more to do with Brian Hoyer than it does Jarrett Stidham.

Some could look at the New England Patriots‘ recent decision to release four-year veteran quarterback Cody Kessler and think it translates into a direct vote of confidence in second-year player Jarrett Stidham.

I’m not so sure.

It’s worth pointing out that the Pats waited all of four days after the Indianapolis Colts parted ways with Brian Hoyer to scoop him up and sign him to a one-year deal. Hoyer has been in the NFL now for a decade, and this will mark his third stint with New England (assuming he stays on the roster throughout this summer and into fall).

Hoyer has 67 games of NFL experience under his belt — 38 of which he played as his team’s starter. He’s had stops with eight different franchises and he’s even gotten a taste of postseason action, albeit briefly. At 34 years old, he’s  a savvy, intelligent veteran who brings experience and leadership to the Patriots locker room.

Kessler might be eight years his junior, but his real-life experience in the pros pales in comparison to Hoyer. New England was the former USC Trojan’s fourth NFL franchise to suit up for. Over the past four seasons, he’s played in a grand total of 17 games — only 12 of which he earned the actual start.

He also has zero playoff experience to date, though that’s hardly his fault. Keep in mind, the three teams he played on before the Pats were the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Philadelphia Eagles (Kessler only played in the preseason for Philly).

Stidham may very well end up the starting quarterback for the Patriots in Week 1 — in fact, he’s favored to do so at this point.

But suggesting that Kessler’s exit from the team is a positive indicator of where management thinks Stidham is in his ascension to the role of QB1 feels misguided and ill-informed.

More likely, head coach and de facto GM Bill Belichick figured he didn’t need three quarterbacks on his roster at this juncture.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Patriots add a third quarterback back to the roster in the NFL Draft next month though. That way, Belichick could evaluate two young prospects at the position who could each potentially try and “replace” the departed-Tom Brady: Stidham in his second year and a rookie taken in April.

Hoyer would be the third option, the experienced journeyman who helps tutor both youngsters and show them the ropes.