Patriots lose out on possibly signing two free agent quarterbacks

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The assumption this offseason regarding the Patriots' plans at quarterback has been that they will either draft their next franchise player to replace Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe or sign a veteran free agent as a bridge player until they find the quarterback of the future.

Because they have the third overall pick, it feels like this year is quarterback or bust for new head coach Jerod Mayo. However, since the two teams picking ahead of them (the Bears and Commanders) are also expected to be looking at quarterbacks, there's a strong possibility New England will not love the player who falls to them.

If that's the case, expect a veteran to make their way to Foxboro for the 2024 season.

There has been a lot of chatter about the relatively strong free agent class this year, led by Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield, and Ryan Tannehill. They have all been connected to the Patriots at one point or another, even more so since Alex Van Pelt was hired.

But with the most recent updates regarding a few of those who will be available next month, it appears they have missed out on signing two contenders.

The Patriots miss out on bringing back a familiar face and a guy who has had a recent career resurgence in Tampa

Because of his age and recent success with the Bucs in 2023, Baker Mayfield has become a name that many quarterback-needy teams have been showing a lot of interest in. The Patriots have been connected to the former Browns player because of that, but also due to Alex Van Pelt's previous working relationship with him in Cleveland.

He started to be the hottest available quarterback that dominated the conversation in recent weeks, but according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, any interested team needs to rid themselves of their excitement because Mayfield is not expected to leave his current team.

Given Mayfield's success with the Bucs, taking them to the playoffs in his first season, it makes sense why Tampa would want to retain him. It also makes sense why the quarterback would like to stay where he's wanted, especially since he's seen little success since the Browns traded him to the Panthers in 2022.

The other quarterback the Patriots appear to have missed out on is old friend Jimmy Garoppolo, who is expected to be cut by the Raiders this offseason.

Although he hasn't been a name heavily tied to New England this offseason, he's a former player who could be a suitable bridge quarterback if Mayo decided to go that route. Garoppolo would be a cheaper option, and it's unlikely many teams would be all that interested in signing him at this point in his career, even more so after Las Vegas benched him for an even worse player in Aidan O'Connell.

However, it was announced last week that Garoppolo would be suspended for the first two games of the 2024 season due to violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. If that isn't a sign he won't be on the Patriots' radar, then what is?

Maybe losing out on both players isn't a massive loss for the Patriots, but it limits their choices in signing a free agent this offseason. If this pattern continues, though, it may push them to draft a quarterback and go with him immediately instead.

New England has a lot to worry about this offseason, but you can start it with no sweat thanks to DraftKings! Just sign up and deposit $10. Then, your first bet will be backed by the house and returned as bonus bets if you lose for up to $1,000. Sign up with DraftKings with this Musket Fire link today!

Read more from Musket Fire: