Jarrett Stidham is Still the Future in New England
The New England Patriots’ future quarterback situation, to some, looks murky. However, to me, it looks a little more transparent. Jarrett Stidham could still very well be the future of the New England Patriots, and I can give you three compelling arguments as to why that is:
1. Production and Talent
Stidham hasn’t really shown anymore than a few preseason touchdowns or a regular season interception taken back for six. However, he was quite good at the college level at Auburn, where he transferred to from Baylor after his freshman season. While some may attribute the early examples of struggle at the NFL level in his miniscule sample size in New England thus far to his talent and ability being nonexistent, I chalk up his struggles to the fact that we often forget that the quarterback position is one that needs time to develop. Let’s not also forget that the Patriots’ offense is one of the most complex systems in the entire league. In college, Stidham threw for a total of 7,217 yards, 48 TD’s, with a 64.3% completion percentage, and a near 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio.
His most impressive game in college came against arguably the best defense in all of college football in the 2017 edition of the Iron Bowl vs Alabama while throwing for zero touchdowns (as well as no picks), he still completed 21 of his 28 pass attempts for 237 yards, and rushed for 51 yards and a TD off of 12 carries, which won them that game for the first time in four years. In that game he put on display his poise, football IQ, and highly competitive playing style. In preseason play in 2019, Stidham threw for a total of 731 yards while throwing four touchdowns and only one pick with a 67.8% completion percentage. That is quite interesting because those were the best numbers for any rookie Patriots QB in the preseason throughout the entirety of this past decade. Stidham is at his best when throwing intermediate passes down the sideline or across the middle of the field, and he can deliver them with exceptional touch.
Stidham doesn’t have a Patrick Mahomes’ like arm when throwing down the field, but he can get it done. New England throws short to intermediate routes primarily, which is right in Stidham’s wheel house. Overall, I believe that Stidham can thrive with the Patriots just as he did at Auburn due to his skill set and because of the production we saw from him at the college and NFL preseason levels.
In the 2019 NFL draft, New England selected Stidham in the 4th round at pick number 133 overall. Now yes, I know that’s not a high draft capital spent on Stidham, however, for the Patriots, that is saying something. If you remember, they selected arguably the greatest quarterback of all time with their second pick of the 6th round at pick 199 overall in the 2000 NFL Draft under the notion that he would be a project with lots of potential. Bill Belichick’s Pats could’ve very well selected Jarrett Stidham with that same intent.
3. Cam Newton’s Future
On June 29, 2020, the Patriots signed Cam Newton to a one-year base deal of $1.05 million (with 550k guaranteed, and incentives worth up to $7.5 million). The Patriots did that for these two most likely reasons. One: when an NFL MVP caliber QB is on the market for cheap, you almost HAVE to scoop him up. Two: when they let go of Newton after this season, they will receive compensatory draft picks, most likely one of a 3rd round pick in 2022.