12 Patriots backup QB options after Cam Newton's release


With Cam Newton and the New England Patriots going their separate ways, the question is who will step in as rookie quarterback Mac Jones' backup.

As of Tuesday, veteran Brian Hoyer enters the 2021 NFL season as the No. 2 QB on the Patriots depth chart. Jarrett Stidham remains on the reserve/physically unable to perform list and will have to miss at least the first six weeks of the campaign.

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Rolling with Hoyer as the second-string quarterback would be a risky move for New England. The 35-year-old is worth a roster spot for his mentorship alone, but he simply hasn't been a reliable starting option. In his lone appearance last season vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, Hoyer went 15-of-24 with 130 yards, zero touchdowns, and an interception in a 26-10 loss.

So, which quarterbacks on the market could the Patriots target as their new No. 2? Here are some options.

Kyle Allen

Allen enters the 2021 season as Washington's third-string QB behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke. The 25-year-old headlines a list of potential quarterback trade candidates.

In fact, the Patriots reportedly inquired about a potential Kyle Allen trade following the departure of Tom Brady. Of course, they went on to sign Newton instead.


Allen started four games for Washington last season, going 1-3 with 610 yards, four TDs and one INT. As the full-time starter for the Carolina Panthers in 2019, he completed 62 percent of his passes with 17 TDs and 16 INTs in 13 games.

Nick Foles

Foles enters the 2021 season as the third-string QB on the Chicago Bears, backing up Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields. The 32-year-old, who beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, is a prime trade candidate for teams in need of QB depth.

Foles went 2-5 as the Bears' starter in 2020. He completed 64.7 percent of his passes for 1,852 yards, 10 TDs and eight INTs in his nine appearances. Those numbers don't jump off the page, but Foles would be a solid upgrade over Hoyer and has shown he can be counted on to step up when called upon.

Joe Flacco

The Philadelphia Eagles' trade for Gardner Minshew indicates Flacco probably is the odd man out. He may enter the season as the No. 3 QB on the depth chart -- after all, the Eagles love having more than two options at the position -- but it wouldn't be a surprise to see a team work out a deal for the former Baltimore Ravens signal-caller. Perhaps the Patriots bring the veteran into their QB room.

Dwayne Haskins

Haskins, who was drafted in the first round by Washington in 2019, has had a disastrous start to his NFL career. He'll hope a change of scenery in Pittsburgh will do him some good, but he could be available via trade at some point if the Steelers opt to roll with Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph.

Jake Fromm

One last trade candidate before we get to the free agents. Fromm, a 2020 fifth-round pick by the Buffalo Bills, finds himself at the bottom of a QB depth chart that now consists of Josh Allen, Mitchell Trubisky and Davis Webb. The former Georgia standout hasn't appeared in a regular-season NFL game, but there's bound to be some teams that will buy into his potential.

Will Grier

Grier was a third-round selection by the Panthers in 2019 and played in two games as their backup that season. It didn't go well. The West Virginia product went 0-2 in those starts with zero touchdowns and four picks. It wouldn't be the sexiest pickup, but as you've probably figured out by now, there aren't exactly a wealth of options out there.

Trevor Siemian 

Siemian was cut by the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday but the word is he's likely to re-sign with the team. If not, he'd be a cheap depth option for New England. He played in one game for the New York Jets last season but suffered a season-ending ankle injury. As the Denver Broncos' primary QB in 2017, he went 5-5 with 12 TDs and 14 INTs.

Trace McSorley

McSorley was waived by the Baltimore Ravens but could re-join the team via the practice squad if he goes unclaimed. The 26-year-old appeared in two games last season, going a combined 3-for-10 for 90 yards and a touchdown.


Garrett Gilbert

Gilbert was cut by the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday. He played one game in 2020, completing 21 of his 38 passes for 243 yards, one TD and one INT. We're getting to the part of the list where the upside probably isn't any higher than Hoyer's.

Ben DiNucci

Another QB cut by Dallas, DiNucci played in three games last season and started one following Dak Prescott's season-ending injury. The 2020 seventh-round pick completed 23 of 43 passes for 219 yards in those three appearances.

Jake Dolegala

Dolegala already has had two stints as a depth piece for the Patriots, so perhaps the third time will be the charm? The 6-foot-7 QB hasn't played in an NFL game, but it's clear Belichick sees something in him.

Kyle Lauletta

Lauletta was waived by the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday. He was a 2018 fourth-round pick out of Richmond by the New York Giants and didn't do much with his limited opportunity. In two appearances that season, Lauletta went 0-for-5 with a pick.