Taking a look at the free-agent quarterbacks available for the Patriots

Taking a look at the free-agent quarterbacks available for the Patriots

FOXBORO -- When Bill Belichick was asked about the benefits of finding a third quarterback to add to his roster back on Aug. 14, he responded with less-than-glowing remarks about the available talent at the position.

Here's how the back-and-forth with a reporter went:

Q: Has there been any discussion about bringing in a third quarterback for the first month of the season?

BB: We’ve talked about it, but we’re where we’re at. We are where we’re at right now.

Q: Is it necessary to have that third quarterback for an emergency situation?

BB: Well, I think it’s a question of who it is. I don’t know that there are a lot of Hall-of-Fame players just sitting out there not on any team right now.

Q: What about a Doug Flutie or Vinny Testaverde type of player that you’ve used in the past?

BB: Those guys retired a decade ago.

And that was that. 


But now that Jimmy Garoppolo has suffered a shoulder injury, leaving the Patriots with one healthy quarterback for Thursday's game with the Texans, Belichick will likely have to dip into that underwhelming pool of quarterbacks just to ensure that his team has a capable arm in the event of an injury to Jacoby Brissett.

The question is: Who will they turn to?

The Patriots are without a quarterback on their 10-man practice squad so there is no one in the locker room at the moment who could be called up. They could potentially make a trade for a quarterback, but how much would they be willing to give up in return for a player who might only have a roster spot until Tom Brady returns from his suspension in Week 5?

What appears to be the likeliest scenaro is that the Patriots would wade into free agency for a competent backup short-term backup. Here are a few names worth keeping an eye on. 

Matt Flynn, 31 years old: The Patriots signed Flynn last offseason to play behind Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, but he was quickly placed on the non-football injury list with a hamstring injury and was released before taking a training-camp snap. At the time, Belichick said the team hadn't closed the door on a potential return for Flynn. "I wouldn’t rule it out. We’ve brought back plenty of players who were here, then weren’t here, then came back here. I know he worked hard. It was frustrating he couldn’t get out there." Might 2016 be the right time for a reunion? The 6-foot-2, 228-pounder was signed by the Jets and Saints following his release from New England. He's played for the Packers, Seahawks, Bills and Raiders and has passed for 2,541 career yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 picks.

Ryan Lindley, 27: When the Patriots released Flynn, they signed Lindley to take his place. A sixth-round pick of Arizona in 2012, the 6-3, 232-pounder couldn't make the regular-season roster in New England. He has made six starts in his NFL career, throwing for 1,372 yards, three touchdowns and 11 picks. Like Flynn, he may have at least a rudimentary understanding of the Patriots offense, which may give him a slight advantage over someone who would be a completely new face. 

Sean Renfree, 26: The 6-3, 220-pounder from Duke has attempted just seven passes in his three-year career, but the former Falcons reserve was in town recently for a workout, according to's Mike Reiss.

Ricky Stanzi, 29: The Patriots have also spent some time with Stanzi of late, per Reiss. He went through an offseason tryout with the team but remains a free agent. Checking in at 6-4, 223 pounds, Stanzi has prototypical size, but he has not seen any game action since being drafted by the Chiefs in the fifth round in 2011. Stanzi was most recently under contract with the Lions as a member of their practice squad.

T.J. Yates, 29: The former Texans quarterback is coming off of an ACL tear he suffered late last season, but his agent Brian Ayrault tweeted last month that Yates has been cleared to return to football activities. Yates played in four games for Houston last year and might be a fit in New England since the offense run by Texans coach Bill O'Brien is similar to the one Belichick has drawn up for the Patriots. In 20 career regular-season and postseason contests, Yates has thrown seven touchdowns and 11 picks. 

Eric Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts

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Eric Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts

Former Lions tight end Eric Ebron is signing a two-year deal worth $15 million with the Colts, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Ebron was rumored to be a potential target for the Patriots, especially after new Pats running back Jeremy Hill tried recruiting him to the team.

The 24-year-old had 53 receptions for 574 yards and four touchdowns a season ago with Detroit. 


Patriots release Shea McClellin

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Patriots release Shea McClellin

Shea McClellin will be blocking kicks for somebody else next season. 

The Patriots announced Monday they've released the veteran linebacker, ending his tenure with the team after two seasons.  ESPN's Field Yates broke the news.

The Pats signed McClellin to a three-year deal prior to the 2016 season, but that was the only season in which he played for the team. McClellin missed all of last season due to injury. Prior to coming to New England, McClellin played four seasons with the Bears, who chose him 19th overall in 2012. 

McClellin's biggest contribution with the Pats came when he blocked a Justin Tucker kick in Week 14 of the 2016 season against the Ravens.