Best available quarterbacks for Patriots to pursue in free agency, trade market

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The New England Patriots have lost Tom Brady in NFL free agency, leaving only Jarrett Stidham and Cody Kessler on the team's quarterback depth chart.

Stidham has a lot of potential and could be the team's quarterback of the present and future. But he was a rookie last season and didn't get many regular season reps. Bringing in a veteran QB to give Stidham some competition isn't a bad idea. 

The Patriots also could look at the 2020 NFL Draft if they want to add a quarterback. New England has 12 picks in April's draft, including three in the third round.

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Which quarterbacks could the Patriots pursue on the free agent and trade markets? Here's a rundown of the best available QBs.

Free Agents

Jameis Winston
Age: 26
2019 Stats: 16 GP, 5,109 yards, 33 TD, 30 INT

Winston in 2019 became the first player ever to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season. He also led the league in passing yards. While some of Winston's stats look great, his inability to protect the football is a huge concern. The Bucs lost many close games last season, and several Winston turnovers in those matchups proved costly. 

Blake Bortles
Age: 27
2019 Stats: 3 GP, 3 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

Bortles, after five seasons as the starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars, was Jared Goff's backup with the Los Angeles Rams last season and only attempted two passes in three appearances. For what it's worth, the Patriots added Jedd Fisch to their coaching staff in January, and he was Bortles' offensive coordinator as a rookie QB in 2014.

Joe Flacco
Age: 35
2019 Stats: 8 GP, 1,822 yards, 6 TD, 5 INT

Flacco was released earlier this week after just one season with the Denver Broncos. The former Super Bowl MVP went 2-6 as a starter in Denver and had his season ended early due to a neck injury. He didn't play after Week 8. Flacco is best suited as a backup quarterback at this stage of his career.

Matt Moore
Age: 35
2019 Stats: 6 GP, 659 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT

Moore served as Patrick Mahomes' backup with the Kansas City Chiefs last season. He started two games in the middle of the season after Mahomes suffered a knee injury against the Denver Broncos in Week 7. Moore is a good backup QB option for teams thin at the position. He has plenty of starting experience, too. 

Colt McCoy
Age: 33
​​​​​​​2019 Stats: 1 GP, 122 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

McCoy was primarily a backup last season and started only one game -- a 33-7 loss to the Patriots at FedEx Field. 

Trade Market

Cam Newton
Age: 30
2019 Stats: 2 GP, 572 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

It's important to note Newton is not, as of this writing, a free agent. However, multiple reports Thursday suggest he could be released in the near term, which would make him a free agent.

Newton's 2019 season was cut short due to a left foot injury. It was the first time in his career he had missed more than two games in a single season. Despite his willingness to escape the pocket and pick up yards as a runner (and the hits taken as a result), Newton had only missed five games in his first eight seasons. If healthy, Newton is still one of the top 15 quarterbacks in the league. He's not the most accurate QB, but his ability to make plays with his arm and legs puts a lot of pressure on defenses. Newton has scored 240 touchdowns (182 passing, 58 rushing) in his nine-year career.

Andy Dalton
Age: 32
2019 Stats: 13 GP, 3,494 yards, 16 TD, 14 INT

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Dalton in 2011 and he's been there starting QB ever since. But after failing to make the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, it's probably time for the Bengals and Dalton to part ways. Cincy also owns the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and it presumably will select LSU star and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow to be the team's next franchise quarterback. Dalton could still be a decent starter, but he's better suited as a veteran backup. The Chicago Bears reportedly had interest in Dalton before acquiring Nick Foles from the Jaguars earlier this week.


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Best available quarterbacks for Patriots to pursue in free agency, trade market originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston