Felger: Here's hoping for a Patriots quarterback controversy

Felger: Here's hoping for a Patriots quarterback controversy

I know the idea of a quarterback controversy in New England is a little silly. It's actually a lot silly.

But I also know this: The closer the Patriots can come to one, the better off they'll be.

A QB controversy will mean Jimmy Garoppolo has played well. It will mean the Pats have won games. It will mean Tom Brady and his supporters consider Garoppolo a threat -- which would only happen if Garoppolo looks the part. And, make no mistake, Garoppolo looking the part does nothing but good things for the Patriots, whether it be setting up a future trade of the third-year backup or holding him as a long-range, post-Brady succession plan.

Of course, any such controversy won't exist inside the walls of Gillette Stadium. In the short term, there is no circumstance under which the Pats would consider Garoppolo a better option than Brady. Such discussions will remain out here, among fans and media. Which is fine. All the same criteria as mentioned above will apply. Garoppolo has to play well for anyone to mention it, internally or externally.

The alternative would be bad news for the Pats. No debate means Garoppolo will have stunk. And there goes your first-round pick; there goes your succession plan.

As for Brady and his understudy, I'm not looking for any kind, nurturing relationship. In fact, I kind of hope they hate each other by the end of this. Brett Favre always got along great with his numerous backups, until Aaron Rodgers came along. Then it turned icy, and for good reason. Rodgers was the first one good enough to push him out the door. It's hard to be friends with someone out for your job. It's almost impossible with someone who is also qualified to take it. Garoppolo should be out for Brady's spot, whether he has a legitimate shot at it or not. That has to be his mentality.

It's hard to know whether Garoppolo has adopted that mindset or not. If I had to venture a guess from 1,000,000 miles away, I would say Garappollo could use a little more assertiveness. A little more confidence. It's a tough position, given Brady's status on the team and in the sport, but if I were Garoppolo I'd try and forget all that. It's your team now, and Brady isn't going to do you any favors, just like Drew Bledsoe didn't do him any 16 years ago. I hope Garoppolo treats Brady as the competition, not as some mentor or friend, because he's certainly not that.

And if Garoppolo parlays that attitude by actually playing well, and that ruffles the feathers of Brady or anyone else in New England, tough. Screw it. If that leads to silly calls on the radio calling for Brady to take a seat, then good for us on talk radio. But it will be even better for the team. Because it will mean Garoppolo was good enough for you to pick up the phone.

Email Felger at Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN.


What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

The Patriots have made a trade with the Raiders to acquire receiver and special teamer Cordarrelle Patterson, according to a source. The deal, first reported by Pardon My Take, is an interesting one because it lands Patterson with the team that passed on the opportunity to draft him back in 2013. 


Bill Belichick dealt the No. 29 overall pick to the Vikings that year in exchange for four selections, including a second-rounder and a third-rounder. The second-rounder became Jamie Collins, and the third became Logan Ryan. The Patriots also took Josh Boyce with a fourth they received in the trade, and the fourth pick (a seventh) was traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings took Patterson. 

Patterson's career to this point has been a mixed bag. One of the top athletes in the 2013 draft, the Tennessee product never quite panned out as a go-to No. 1 receiver. He has not missed a game in five seasons, but he has never cracked 600 offensive snaps in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has turned himself into more of a gadget receiver as well as one of the game's best special teamers. 

Here's what the Patriots are getting in Patterson . . . 

TOP-TIER SPECIAL TEAMER: Patterson has solidified himself as one of the NFL's best kick-returners. In five seasons, he's ranked as the top returner in terms of average yards per return three times. He's never been outside of the top 10 in the league in that category. Last year he was sixth in the NFL with a 28.3 yards per return average. Patterson has also become a highly-effective gunner on punt units, a role he thrived in once he embraced it, and he has kick coverage experience. Patterson has not been a punt-returner. He has just one punt return under his belt compared to 153 kick returns. Patterson has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice for his work in the kicking game. 

INCONSISTENT RECEIVER: Patterson has never been able to take his explosiveness and translate that into consistent production offensively. He's not thought of as a precise route-runner, and he has a reputation as a "body-catcher." Yet, because he's so dynamic with the ball in his hands, offenses in Oakland and Minnesota have found ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll align in the backfield, take reverses and catch screens just to try to get him the ball in space where he can let his natural abilities take over. If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. 

THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside . . . The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away? Inside the Pylon's Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there's a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn't proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) 

THE FIT: Patterson is a relatively low-risk acquisition because of his cap hit (which on the Patriots slots him in between Shea McClellin and Chris Hogan) and because of the draft capital required to nab him. Trading for a player like Patterson as opposed to signing another team's free agent has the added benefit of not impacting the compensatory-pick formula. Patterson also fills a few needs. His abilities as a kick-returner will be more than suitable with last year's primary kick returner for the Patriots, Dion Lewis, out of the mix. What Patterson can do as a gunner and in kick coverage will also be useful with Johnson Bademosi now elsewhere. There's also a chance Matthew Slater plays in a different city in 2017, in which case Patterson's contributions as a gunner and in kick coverage could be critical. With Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Hogan all established in the Patriots offense, Patterson won't be expected to take on a heavy role in the Patriots offense. However, if he can pick up a new system, perhaps he could take on a role as a No. 4 or 5 wideout who benefits from plays designed to get him touches in space. Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt -- now alongside Patterson -- will all be competing for time in New England's offense. Former Patriots coaching assistant Mike Lombardi seems to believe it's unlikely Patterson contributes offensively


Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

The Patriots have acquired wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson in a trade with the Raiders, NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry confirms.

Pardon My Take, a podcast by Barstool Sports, first reported the news.

Ian Rapaport of NFL Network reports the Patriots sent a fifth-round pick to Oakland and received a Raiders' sixth-rounder along with Patterson.

More to come...