The New England Patriots are better than anyone at preparing for every possible outcome. So, while the Patriots are willing to go to great lengths to re-sign Tom Brady, Bill Belichick is already working on contingency plans for the team.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Patriots are working through a variety of fall back plans, including trading for a veteran quarterback this offseason. In an offseason where multiple high-end quarterbacks could be available, New England is ready to strike if Brady leaves.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton could emerge as a potential target. The Panthers are entering a transition period under new head coach Matt Rhule and the team is expected to trade Newton this offseason.
Newton carries a $21.1 million cap hit for the 2020 season, which could be a lower mark than it would cost the team to re-sign Brady or sign another quarterback. While he is still recovering from Lisfranc surgery, the 30-year-old could bring new excitement and open up Josh McDaniels’ offense.
Reports have also suggested that the Detroit Lions could trade Matthew Stafford during the offseason. While he comes with some durability concerns, Stafford played at an elite level before his season-ending back injury. Across eight games, Stafford threw 19 passing touchdowns, 2,499 passing yards and a 106 quarterback rating in eight games.
Obviously, the Patriots’ priority to start the offseason will be on retaining Brady. However, it’s clear Belichick is prepared if that door closes and might have his eyes set on contending with a new quarterback.