5 dark horse candidates to be Patriots' QB in 2024

Don't let a single victory fool you. The Pats need to make a change.

New England Patriots, Bailey Zappe
New England Patriots, Bailey Zappe / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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5. Jake Browning

Finally, this is certainly a dark horse if there ever was one. But, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning is in the midst of an important audition. After going undrafted in 2019, Browning had still yet to see real NFL action prior to this season.

Then, Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending injury, thrusting Browning into the starting role. In limited time, thus far, Browning has actually encouraged a lot of Bengals fans. In his prime time win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday night, Browning ended the night going 32-of-37 for 354 yards and a touchdown. He also ran in a score.

Browning's story might end positively this season if he keeps it up. But, at the same time, he could also be a mirage. This might be an example of a guy who plays well as a backup and plays himself into a contract the following year, but ultimately isn't a long-term starting type.

If the Patriots drafted a quarterback, Browning could also serve as a bridge. That would make more sense than bringing him in to start, of course. I don't see a team signing Browning to be their starter, anyways. But, as a bridge, he could certainly get some action early on in 2024.