NFL Rumors: Patriots not among teams to pursue Andy Dalton in free agency?

Darren Hartwell
NBC Sports Boston

Was the New England Patriots' apparent interest in Andy Dalton overstated?

The Patriots emerged as betting favorites to land the veteran quarterback after the Cincinnati Bengals released him last Thursday, and a report emerged that New England was among the teams interested in signing him.

But according to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, the Patriots never pursued Dalton before he signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.

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Via Florio's Sunday mailbag:

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, five teams pursued Dalton. None provided a direct path to a starting job in 2020. (This implies that the Patriots weren't one of the five.)

ESPN's Mike Reiss suggested Friday that even if New England explored signing Dalton, it would be to "supplement" quarterback Jarrett Stidham, not supplant him as the starter.

Reading between the lines of Florio's report, it appears the Patriots truly believe in Stidham as their starter for 2020, a belief they reinforced by not taking a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Veteran backup Brian Hoyer and undrafted free agents J'Mar Smith and Brian Lewerke are the only other QBs on New England's roster. While the Patriots could sign another veteran QB in free agency, the fact that they didn't even pursue Dalton -- who signed a one-year, $7 million contract to be Dak Prescott's backup -- suggests they're comfortable with their QB room at the moment.

NFL Rumors: Patriots not among teams to pursue Andy Dalton in free agency? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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