Alex Smith

Is it time for Patriots to find The Next Guy?

Is it time for Patriots to find The Next Guy?

Before free agency kicks off, and before we dissect the top college prospects entering this year's draft, we're taking a look at the Patriots on a position-by-position basis to provide you with an offseason primer of sorts. We'll be analyzing how the Patriots performed in 2017 at the position in question, who's under contract, how badly the team needs to add talent at that spot, and how exactly Bill Belichick might go about adding that talent. Today we're tackling the position that just might make this the most important draft season in Patriots history: Quarterback.

OTHER ENTRIES IN THE SERIES

 

HOW THEY PERFORMED


Tom Brady was the NFL MVP for the third time and his play at 40 years old might just give the Patriots the leeway to wait another year to draft The Next Guy. The argument could be made - and should be made, in my opinion - that the Patriots need to draft a quarterback this spring. But given the way Brady looked, if the right player isn't there this time around, the Patriots could wait until next year and they'd still probably be OK at the most important position at the roster. Despite taking a beating early in the season, and despite battling through a variety of injuries throughout the season, Brady led the league in passing yardage and was third when it came to QB rating. He was fifth in completion percentage and fifth in yards per attempt. He's said before he'll retire when he sucks. He's a long way off. 

WHO IS UNDER CONTRACT FOR 2018?


Brady, Brian Hoyer

 

HOW DIRE IS THE NEED?

 


The severity of the need all depends on the window of time you're looking at. Do they need a quarterback tomorrow? Of course not. But don't kid yourself. They need one. And soon. If the Patriots can figure out a way to get Nate Solder back in the fold, adding a promising young player at this spot should shoot to the top of the offseason's to do list. Even without Solder, because of the importance of the QB position, the Patriots may believe finding Brady's eventual successor is the key to the offseason. Drafting a quarterback in the first round this season would give the Patriots a passer under contract through 2022. Brady will turn 45 years old that summer.

 

WHAT'S AVAILABLE IN FREE AGENCY?

 


Man, is it going to be fun to talk about this position this offseason. Things got weird when Washington traded for Alex Smith and handed him a long-term extension with the former Niners and Chiefs QB. That means Kirk Cousins would certainly be on his way to a new city in a matter of months. And things should only get weirder from there. All three Vikings quarterbacks -- Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater -- are scheduled to hit free agency. Nick Foles is under contract in Philly but could be made available in a trade. Drew Brees, meanwhile, is scheduled to become a free agent as well. What's it all mean for the Patriots? They probably won't be interested in veteran passers, but where the above names land will alter the league-wide landscape when it comes to draft weekend. And because this is expected to be one of the deepest quarterback drafts in years, the Patriots could benefit if, after all the movement, a talented rookie signal-caller ends up falling into their laps. 

 

WHAT'S AVAILABLE IN THE DRAFT?

 


Where to start? Want the most statistically accomplished quarterback in the history of college football? Someone with big-time leadership skills and an outsized (at times abrasive) personality to match? That's Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield. USC's Sam Darnold may have the highest ceiling of any passer in this class. UCLA's Josh Rosen throws a pretty ball but there are questions as to how he'll move at the next level. Wyoming's Josh Allen looks like he was built in a quarterback lab, but his accuracy is all over the map. Louisville's Lamar Jackson is the most talented runner at the position since Michael Vick, but his mechanics could use some cleaning up, and he'll need the right scheme in order to succeed. All of those players could be gone in the first round. And four of those six could be gone in the top six picks. If you're the Patriots, that might be OK. Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph, Washington State's Luke Falk, Western Kentucky's Mike White and Richmond's Kyle Lauletta could be available on Day 2 and may represent good value in the eyes of Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio. 

 

HOW CAN THE PATRIOTS ADDRESS IT?

 


This just might be the most important draft in Patriots history. It’s bigger than 1993, I think, back when the choice was Drew Bledsoe or Rick Mirer. The Patriots couldn't screw that one up. But that was about becoming competitive. Every decision the Patriots make now is about trying to extend their unparalleled run. Without the No. 1 overall pick, the current challenge is greater. It's certainly greater than it was back in 2014, when they drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round. Back then, they knew they had some breathing room to develop Brady's successor. Now, even though Brady just won the MVP, that window has been minimized. The team can’t bank on Brady making it to 45. The choice has to be to make a contingency plan, and to make it quickly, with a young player who the team believes has the intelligence, the arm and the leadership to be The Next Guy. He'll also need the requisite poise not to be shaken when he’s dubbed The Next Guy. Lump all of those things together, and that player will be hard to find - even in a loaded quarterback class - so how do the Patriots make sure they get him? Use a first-round pick, if they have to. Trade up, if they have to. The Patriots may be certain their man will slip to the second. Maybe they’ll be confident they can actually draft the next Garoppolo with the pick they received in exchange for Garoppolo months ago. But because the future of the most important position on their roster is so tightly bound to the health of a 40-year-old, it feels like they really can't afford to wait around.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Chiefs reach agreement to trade Alex Smith to Washington

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Chiefs reach agreement to trade Alex Smith to Washington

WASHINGTON -- Kansas City has agreed to trade quarterback Alex Smith to Washington, a move that spells the end of Kirk Cousins' time with the Redskins and hands the Chiefs' job to Patrick Mahomes.

Two people with direct knowledge of the deal confirmed the move to The Associated Press on Tuesday night on condition of anonymity because the transaction can't be completed until the start of the new league year in March. One person told the AP the Redskins had agreed to a four-year extension with Smith, who had one year left on his contract.

Smith, who turns 34 in May, spent the past five seasons with the Chiefs, leading them to the playoffs four times while throwing for 102 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. He carries a $17 million salary-cap hit for 2018.

Kansas City saves cap space and can turn to Mahomes, the 10th pick in last year's draft out of Texas Tech, as its new starter.

Smith becomes Washington's new franchise quarterback after throwing for 31,888 yards and 183 touchdowns in 12 NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and Chiefs.

Smith is "one of the best competitors and teammates I've ever been around," Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce posted on Twitter. "Someone who I owe a lot of my success to, and a guy that's been a class act through all the ups n downs."

The Redskins acquired Smith and signed him to the kind of long-term deal they balked at with Cousins, who became the first QB to play back-to-back seasons on the franchise tag. Cousins can become a free agent next month at age 29.

"Nothing really surprises me anymore," Redskins tight end Niles Paul tweeted . Former Redskins QB Robert Griffin III tweeted : "Some how...Some way...they will blame this on me. No doubt."

Cousins, drafted by the Redskins in the fourth round out of Michigan State in 2012 - the same year they traded up to Griffin with the No 2 pick - likely leaves Washington with the fourth-most passing yards in franchise history, more than 16,000.

Under coach Jay Gruden, Cousins became the first Redskins QB to start all 16 games for three consecutive seasons. He threw for at least 4,000 yards in each, while totaling 81 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. But Washington only played in one playoff game during that span, going 9-7, 8-7-1 and, most recently, 7-9 in Cousins' time as a starter.

Cousins has been the biggest question hovering over Washington's offseason - and, indeed, hovering over the whole organization for a couple of years as the team failed to sign him to a long-term deal.

According to ESPN, Washington is sending a third-round draft pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller to Kansas City in the trade, which cannot be finalized until March 14. The Kansas City Star first reported the deal.

This is the second time a team coached by Andy Reid has traded a 33-year-old QB to the Redskins. Reid's Philadelphia Eagles dealt Donovan McNabb to Washington in 2010 for second- and third-round picks.

BEST OF BST PODCAST: Troy Brown puts an end to the 'cheaters' talk

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BEST OF BST PODCAST: Troy Brown puts an end to the 'cheaters' talk

0:41 - Here we go again. With success come the haters and now players and coaches from the 2004 Eagles team are calling the Patriots cheaters. Troy Brown defends his squad from Super Bowl XXXIX and discusses the hatred towards the Pats with Tom Curran, Kayce Smith and Michael Holley.

6:57 - While the Super Bowl is the biggest news in the NFL right now, moves are being made. The Chiefs traded Alex Smith to the Redskins for a third-round pick and a player to be named later. Michael Holley, Kayce Smith and Troy Brown discuss how this move will shake up the quarterback market this upcoming offseason.

10:37 - Gronk is back! Well, almost. The Patriots tight end told the media at an event that he will play in the Big Game on Sunday. Tom Giles, Tom Curran and Kayce Smith discuss if Gronk has enough time to get back to being game-ready and how limited he will be if he plays.

14:00 - Can’t get enough of Tom vs. Time? The BST crew point out their favorite parts of the third installment of Tom Brady’s documentary series.