Patriots: What will happen to Jarrett Stidham if a quarterback is drafted in first round?

The New England Patriots have been pegged as a potential destination for some of the top quarterbacks in this year’s loaded draft class.

Given that they are slated with the No. 15 overall pick, however, they’d likely have to give up a haul to position themselves to select one of them.

Assuming the Patriots step outside of their comfort zone and move up several picks, what would the rest of the quarterback room look like?

Despite his modest contract, Cam Newton is without a doubt penciled in as the starter. Behind him, however, it starts getting a little dicey.

After all, the Patriots likely wouldn’t draft a touted prospect if they didn’t feel he was ready to be one of the top three options on the quarterback depth chart. On the flip side, they might also feel it’s too soon for him to be thrust into the backup role right away.

If that happens, would they entrust Jarrett Stidham as the No. 2? The coaching staff and ownership have continued to rave about the 2019 fourth-round pick, but his lack of playing time over his first two seasons really have us questioning his future.

What does the future hold for Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham?

The careful manner in which Patriots have managed Stidham over his first two seasons in the league suggests they don’t really believe in his ability. Despite being raved about throughout last offseason, he ultimately lost the backup battle to veteran Brian Hoyer coming out of training camp, which is pretty damning given how awful Hoyer looked in his lone relief appearance.

You also have to consider that Newton was begging to be supplanted as the starter for much of last campaign. Despite being benched in some games and being genuinely unwatchable at times after returning from a positive COVID-19 test, the Patriots continued to roll with him as QB1.

What does that tell you about their conviction (or lack thereof) in Stidham? In five games last year, the young signal caller finished just 22-of-44 for 256 yards, on a lousy 5.8 yards per attempt, to go with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Unless the Patriots feel comfortable rolling with him as their backup, he could be on the outside looking in entering the preseason.

Think about it like this: if New England believes whomever they draft would be better served developing as the third stringer in Year 1, they might feel compelled to add a veteran in free agency to be the primary backup.

That way, he would be learning under two experienced QBs as opposed to Stidham, who’s attempted just 48 passes in his career.

That isn’t to say Stidham doesn’t have a chance to win the backup job. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if he begins the season on the practice squad in the event that the Patriots decide to prioritize the development of their rookie gunslinger, which would be the smart thing to do.