The NFL quarterback carousel is fully underway, with big names flying off the board every other week.
Matthew Stafford went to the Los Angeles Rams, Jared Goff took his place with the Detroit Lions and the Indianapolis Colts traded multiple picks to the Philadelphia Eagles for Carson Wentz on Thursday.
After several reports claiming the New England Patriots had made a non-competitive offer for Stafford, rumor has it they didn't even get that far with Wentz. NFL.com's Michael Giardi reported Wednesday that New England never showed any "real interest" in trading for Wentz, again narrowing down the field of who could suit up for the Patriots at quarterback come next fall.
Trade rumors continue to swirl at varying degrees for Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo, Russell Wilson, Derek Carr and Sam Darnold across the league. One name stands out above the rest for the Patriots, however, according to one ESPN insider on Wednesday.
League insider Field Yates – who previously spent time interning for the Patriots in various coaching and scouting roles and also graduated from Bill Belichick's alma mater Wesleyan University – predicted current Las Vegas Raiders backup quarterback Marcus Mariota would be the starter in New England this upcoming season.
Yates said the 27-year-old signal-caller was a logical fit with the Patriots, whether he arrives in Foxboro via trade or free agency post-release.
Mariota is currently owed $10.725 million for next season, but he could become a cap casualty for a Raiders team that is already projected to be $18 million over the cap.
The former No. 2 overall pick backed up Carr in 2020 after losing his starting job to Ryan Tannehill with the Tennessee Titans in 2019. As a result, Mariota has started just six games over the past two seasons, completing 59.6 percent of his passes for 178.6 yards per game and a 90.9 passer rating in that time.
Mariota passed for 12,004 yards, 69 touchdowns, 42 interceptions, a 63.2 percent completion percentage and an 89.4 passer rating over his first four seasons in the NFL, when he was a full time starter for a Titans team he led to a 27-28 record. Mariota also rushed for 1,270 yards and 11 touchdowns in that span.
Yates' prediction also claimed Cam Newton, who started 15 of the Patriots' 16 games last year, could possibly make his return to New England, but that it was still seen as an unlikely reunion.
Regardless, Tom Brady is not going to walk through the doors at 1 Patriot Place this season – at least, until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off against New England for a regular season matchup this fall.
Whether the quarterback set to face Brady is Mariota, Newton, Garoppolo or someone else remains to be seen.