When the New England Patriots return to the field for training camp in late July, all eyes once again will be on quarterbacks Cam Newton and Mac Jones.
The duo provided a glimpse of the quarterback competition during the team's three-day minicamp this week, but later this summer is when things will get really interesting. Will Jones leapfrog Newton for the starting job? Which QB(s) will be the odd one out when final cuts come around?
On a brand new Next Pats Podcast, NFL Network's Mike Giardi joined Phil Perry to share his answer to those questions.
Perry asked Giardi who he believes will be the Patriots' second-string quarterback for the majority of the 2021 season, and that prompted an unexpected answer.
"Brian Hoyer," Giardi said. "I think if Cam is the starter and then gets replaced, then I think Cam's not gonna want to be here anymore. So, I'm thinking Week 5 for Mac Jones as the sort of obvious slot-in for him to take over the job. Is Cam gonna really want to be around for 12 more weeks -- and I think this is a playoff team, so beyond that -- as the backup?"
So where does that leave third-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham?
"I don't think Jarrett Stidham makes it to September with this team or makes it past that final cut," Giardi said. "I think he's gonna be in the Jacoby Brissett for Phillip Dorsett, I think that's what we're looking at with him, or a late-round pick for Jarrett Stidham. I just kind of feel like everything went past him at this point and he's an afterthought in the competition.
"And while Hoyer's working with the scout team against the No. 1 defense, the value there is obviously he knows the offense better than anybody else, he is here to help Mac master this and feel comfortable, he's been in this role before, and I just think that's where we're headed."
Also discussed in the episode: Perry asks Giardi, 'Mac Jones was _____ at minicamp?' Which player from the 2020 draft class will have the most impressive sophomore performance? Giardi gives his take on Stephon Gilmore's holdout. And what's the most disappointing minicamp from a player drafted since 2019?