Case in point: Just days after the 2020 NFL Draft, speculation spun forward to the 2021 NFL Draft, where Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is expected to be the No. 1 pick.
And at least one AFC executive is worried the Brady-less Patriots will throw their 2020 season to draft Lawrence in 2021.
That "AFC evaluator" may want a word with Terry Bradshaw, though. The Hall of Fame quarterback-turned-broadcaster was asked Monday on "Mad Dog Sports Radio" if he could see the Patriots tanking for Trevor.
Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis
"Never. I don't see that ever happening. Are you kidding me?" Bradshaw told hosts Steve Torre and Danny Kanell. "I would never entertain that thought, that kind of thinking. That's not going to happen."
Aside from the improbability of Bill Belichick trying to lose games on purpose, Bradshaw doesn't see the merits of the Patriots putting all of their eggs in Lawrence's basket.
"Who's to say Trevor Lawrence is the second coming? He may be the hot shot right now, but is he as good as (Joe) Burrow coming out right now? Is he an (Andrew) Luck? Is he a (Dan) Marino? Is he a (John) Elway? Everyone says he is. I love him. I love the kid, but there's no guarantees in this world.
"If you've got an offensive line and receivers, you can showcase your talent. Same with (Tom) Brady. If he doesn't have the protection and the offense to fit him and so on and so forth ... he's just another guy."
Brady looked somewhat human during his final season in New England while throwing to a patchwork receiving corps. The Patriots have yet to make dramatic changes on offense, so Stidham may have similar struggles in 2020 assuming he's the starter.
But will Stidham and backup Brian Hoyer struggle enough to put New England in range of landing the No. 1 pick?
"That's just the stupidest thing I've ever heard of," Bradshaw added. "Not going to happen, Jack."
A Belichick-coached team hasn't finished below .500 since the 2000 Patriots, and even the worst projections have New England finishing around 8-8 in 2020. So, maybe Bradshaw's agitation is justified.
Could Patriots tank for Trevor Lawrence? Terry Bradshaw lampoons idea originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston