Jarrett Stidham didn’t live up to expectations during training camp, and perhaps that’s because they were unfair from the start of the offseason. But Stidham’s fall down the depth chart has been unfortunate, with the Patriots rostering three quarterbacks on their initial roster for 2020. And it seems Stidham is QB3.
When the New England Patriots lost Tom Brady in free agency to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Stidham jumped to the top of the roster by default. But because Bill Belichick seemed content with who he had, it seemed like a tacit nod of confidence in Stidham.
With Brady gone, New England signed just Brian Hoyer, who lost the position battle to Stidham in 2019 when the Patriots cut Hoyer to keep Stidham as Brady’s backup. But that win was a bit of a technicality. New England cut Hoyer at the 53-man roster deadline last year because the Patriots anticipated getting him back, whereas a fourth-round draft choice like Stidham wouldn’t clear waivers. But Hoyer had a suitor: the Indianapolis Colts, who blew him away with an offer. So Hoyer left New England with Stidham and Brady.
That was important context for training camp in 2020 when Stidham seemed like Cam Newton’s top competition. It was a foregone conclusion that Newton would eventually pull away. But Stidham wasn’t particularly competitive, especially while dealing with a hip injury that landed him in the hospital before leaving him limited for much of camp. Instead, Hoyer seemed to land a spot as the backup. Newton won the starting quarterback job last week, and seems to be on the verge of a comeback season. Stidham, meanwhile, only cast further doubt on his pro prospects, likely sitting at QB3 to start the season.
Stidham could reverse the nosedive. But for now, it seems Stidham has a long way to go to earn the confidence of the coaching staff. New England is on the hunt for a quarterback of the future, and Stidham didn’t do a good job making himself the best candidate. The Patriots’ 53-man roster choices — which include three quarterbacks — are a reflection of that.