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NFL Rumors: Could Tom Brady's Heir be a Former Patriot?

How a changing of the guards in Indianapolis could lead to a reunion in New England.

In 2017, the New England Patriots had one of the best quarterback rooms we've seen in recent memory. That's the same reason they traded away Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, because they were incredible values considering they weren't earning snaps on a team that had the greatest quarterback of all time playing at a high level. The need for insurance for Brady didn't seem worth it at that point, which is why both young QBs were traded within two months of each other that year. 

Fast forward to 2019, and the Patriots are now wondering if their 42-year-old quarterback will be returning to New England in 2020. Now more than ever, the organization will be exploring their options to replace Brady in the event that he either calls it a career or plays elsewhere next season, the latter being the likelier option of the two. 

When looking at the two QBs New England traded away two years ago, there have been two very different storylines that have transpired since their time with the Patriots. Garoppolo has been a story of success; after missing most of the 2018 season because of a torn ACL, he returned this season to quarterback a 12-3 49ers team who have their eyes set on a Super Bowl appearance for the first time since 2013. 

Brissett's story hasn't been quite the same; after playing backup to Andrew Luck last season, he was thrusted into a starting role this season once Luck suddenly retired back in August. While he started the regular season off at an MVP pace, Brissett slowly fell back down to earth, which in part has his team at a 7-8 record and out of the playoffs. 

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With a roster that has dynasty potential, Indianapolis is looking for a young, talented QB who can lead their team for years to come. But after a full season with Brissett as the starter, there are rumors that he may not be the Colts' QB of the future. Though the Colts gave him a two-year, $30 million extension back in September, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier this week that Indianapolis is expected to be in the quarterback market "significantly" come next year's draft. SI's own Albert Breer also mentioned Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa as an option for Indianapolis in the 2020 draft. This means that Brissett could lose his starting job next season. 

With a major shift potentially coming for the Colts in the near future, an opportunity could arise for a reunion to take place in New England. If Indianapolis does decide to move on from Brissett as their starting QB, the Patriots could make a move to trade for Brissett and bring him back to the team that drafted him in 2016. 

While the talk in Foxboro is that the Patriots are very happy with what they have in rookie quarterback Jarrett Stidham, one has to think that bringing in other options in the event that Stidham doesn't pan out would be a wise decision. So why not bring in a quarterback that is familiar with the system, still relatively young (Brissett is 27) and has shown an ability to play at a high level in the NFL?

The asking price is a key piece of this scenario. When the Patriots traded Brissett to Indianapolis back in 2017, they received former first round pick Phillip Dorsett in a 1-for-1 trade. Dorsett hadn't lived up to expectations during his first two seasons with the Colts, which is why he was traded away for a 3rd string QB that season. Two years later, Brissett has proved he can be a competent starter in the NFL when given the tools to succeed, which has definitely raised his value in a trade. With that being said, based on his 2019 value and the fact that it would likely take a a strong offer in order for the Colts to trade him away, a second-round draft pick at the very least seems like the trade value for Brissett come next offseason. Another pick later in the draft would also seem fit considering the Patriots could at-best offer a late-second round pick in the 2020 draft. 

The asking price may seem a bit high for a team that may not even utilize Brissett. But when preparing for the post-Tom Brady era, bringing in a quarterback with a history like Brissett's would be a smart decision.