The New England Patriots' top priority during the 2021 NFL offseason should be figuring out how to get better quarterback play next season.
After having one of the league's top passing attacks for most of Tom Brady's 20-year tenure with the team, the Patriots had one of the worst pass offenses in football during the 2020 season without Brady.
The Patriots ranked 30th in passing yards per game, 32nd in passing touchdowns, 27th in QB rating and 23rd in completion percentage last season.
Neither Cam Newton nor Jarrett Stidham impressed enough to be the slam dunk choice as the starter for next season. So, who should we expect to see under center when New England opens the 2021 campaign?
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Here are the latest betting lines for the Patriots' starting quarterback in Week 1 -- odds provided by our partner, PointsBet Sportsbook.
- Marcus Mariota: +325
- Cam Newton: +500
- Jimmy Garoppolo: +500
- Ryan Fitzpatrick: +500
- Jarrett Stidham: +550
- Andy Dalton: +750
- Mac Jones: +750
- Trey Lance: +1000
- Derek Carr: +1200
Mariota being the favorite is certainly interesting. He was the Las Vegas Raiders backup last season but started the majority of the games during his five seasons with the Tennessee Titans from 2015 through 2019. Mariota is an accurate passer and also has the ability to make plays with his legs.
Garoppolo would be a fun addition given his previous ties with the Patriots and his familiarity with the offense. But the 49ers have publicly backed Garoppolo, so a return to New England could just be a fantasy right now.
Fitzpatrick makes a lot of sense if the Patriots use their 2021 first-round draft pick on a quarterback. The Patriots are the only AFC East team Fitzpatrick hasn't yet played for. He could come in and start while the Patriots develop whichever QB is drafted.
New England also could just give the keys to the offense to a rookie. Alabama's Mac Jones and North Dakota State's Trey Lance are the top quarterbacks most likely to be available when the Patriots are on the clock at No. 15 in the first round.
Whatever the Patriots decide at quarterback, upgrading the receiving corps must be part of that effort. It won't matter who's playing quarterback in 2021 if the Patriots don't add more top-tier talent at the wide receiver and tight end positions.