Colin Cowherd says Patriots face ‘worst-case scenario’ at QB, and he may have a point

The New England Patriots’ quarterback situation is getting a little bleak. The 2021 offseason was supposed to be one with infinite opportunity at the quarterback position.

It was likely a handful of quarterbacks would be available for trade. And we’ve seen teams agree to terms on three quarterback moves: Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. New England was on the outside looking in. And that’s the way FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd thinks it will continue with the Patriots on the outside looking in, especially now that the San Francisco 49ers showed a strong commitment to Jimmy Garoppolo.

“This is New England post-Tom Brady: Lost. It’s the worst-case scenario,” Colin Cowherd said Wednesday on FS1. “The quarterback market’s barren, eight other teams beside you want one, and you’ve got the 15th pick.”

So on one hand, this argument lacks nuance. First of all, he’s overreacting to the news about Garoppolo. It’s always possible for the 49ers to change their mind. It’s quite common for teams to say one thing about a top player and do another. That could happen with Garoppolo. That’s genuinely not a stretch.

Cowherd also conveniently omitted a few options at quarterback that could shake loose: Deshaun Watson, Dak Prescott and maybe even Russell Wilson. Prescott would have to hit free agency (or the Cowboys would have to trade him). Watson and Wilson would have to be open to the idea of New England (which they reportedly are not), and the quarterbacks’ teams would have to be open to a trade. Stranger things have happened, but all three options are, admittedly, a stretch.

The draft boasts five elite quarterback prospects, but many expect all five to be off the board before the Patriots pick at No. 15. New England might have to trade up — a costly proposition — to get its guy.

So if the 49ers keep Garoppolo and the Patriots aren’t in range to trade up or draft a top quarterback and those other three options stay put or end up somewhere other than New England, then the Patriots are, indeed, in some trouble. And, again, to Cowherd’s credit, that’s probably the most likely scenario.

So then what? Who might the Patriots start?

  • Jarrett Stidham. Stop laughing!

  • Cam Newton. Maybe a better supporting cast and another year in the system will put Newton in a better position in 2021.

  • Marcus Mariota. If the Raiders release him, he’d be a good candidate, though we do know what he is: a good decision-maker who lacks elite talent.

  • Tyrod Taylor. He’s a veteran who is smart with the ball, and probably will not demand much in the way of salary.

  • Sam Darnold. It’s hard to imagine the Jets trading a quarterback to the Patriots, but even if they did, there’s no saying whether he’d earn a starting job in 2021.

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick/Mitchell Trubisky. I’m not sure their frenetic run-and-gun style would work for the Patriots.

  • Jameis Winston. Again, I don’t think his hero-ball mentality fits. And he is likely to return to the Saints.

  • Jacoby Brissett. The Patriots seemed to trade him because they didn’t like his upside. And in his time as the Colts’ starter, he confirmed that there wasn’t much there.

So, yes, Cowherd has a point. The Patriots could get to a point where they’re looking at a very bleak quarterback market. Luckily, it’s not that bad — not yet, at least.