Patriots

Why are Patriots keeping quiet about Jarrett Stidham? Matt Light explains

Why are Patriots keeping quiet about Jarrett Stidham? Matt Light explains

Jarrett Stidham supposedly is the New England Patriots' quarterback of the future. So, why isn't he being treated like it?

The Patriots avoided taking a QB in the 2020 NFL Draft and have resisted signing proven veteran free agents like Andy Dalton and Cam Newton in free agency, a sign they're confident in Stidham and Brian Hoyer as their QB duo in 2020.

Aside from the occasional praise, however, New England has avoided pumping Stidham's tires. In fact, head coach Bill Belichick hasn't even named Stidham the starting QB and made a point after the draft that the Patriots have "a lot of confidence" in Hoyer, his supposed backup.

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Meanwhile, he's what Belichick had to say about Stidham:

"He improved a lot. We'll see where that takes him."

Why are the Patriots playing their Stidham cards close the vest? Are they still considering signing Newton or another free-agent arm? During an interview Thursday on The Pat McAfee Show, ex-Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light said the reason is simple.

"You’re not hearing anything because there’s nothing to be said," Light said. "And that is 11 years of being in the system, but in a lot of ways it is 100 percent factual, right?

"Bill wasn’t lying. He doesn’t know which one of his guys is going to be the guy yet. I think they have a lot of confidence in Jarrett Stidham, I think they have liked what they’ve seen.

" ... Can he deliver? I mean there’s a lot of things that need to come together before you can answer that question. Is he capable? Sure. Would Bill say that? Never. There’s just no upside to saying it, so he’s not going to do it."

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Light's point is well-taken: The Patriots may believe Stidham can lead them in the post-Tom Brady era, but he's still a 23-year-old QB who has attempted four regular-season passes (one of which was intercepted).

So, there's no benefit to Belichick naming Stidham his starting quarterback in the spring only to watch the Auburn product struggle in the summer and fall and invite a QB controversy before the season even begins.

Just because New England isn't launching a Stidham 2020 hype tour doesn't mean Belichick is second-guessing himself, though.

"You’re just going to feel as if there is a lot of uncertainty where there probably is a lot more comfort than you’ll ever realize," Light said.

Translation: Expect the Patriots to keep Stidham relatively under wraps until he proves himself on the field.

NFL Rumors: Patriots free up millions in cap space from Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez grievances

NFL Rumors: Patriots free up millions in cap space from Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez grievances

The New England Patriots just got whole lot of financial breathing room.

The Patriots have earned a total of $6.25 million in settlements from compensation grievances involving former wide receiver Antonio Brown and ex-tight end Aaron Hernandez, ESPN's Mike Reiss and Field Yates reported Saturday.

New England now has $7.79 million in cap space, per Reiss and Yates, a huge bump from the less than $500,000 in spending money the team had earlier this week.

Brown, who spent less than two weeks with the Patriots last September, filed a grievance against the team in October 2019 following his release seeking to receive his unpaid Week 1 salary, his $1.025 million guaranteed base salary and his $9 million signing bonus.

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The Patriots will pay Brown $5 million as part of the settlement, per Reiss and Yates.

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the Patriots on Hernandez's behalf in October 2013 seeking over $6 million in guaranteed salary. Hernandez was arrested and later convicted for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd and died in prison in April 2017.

New England was up against the cap after squeezing free-agent quarterback Cam Newton in on a one-year contract and inking all of its 2020 NFL Draft picks to rookie deals. With nearly $8 million in cap space, however, the Patriots have more flexibility to bolster their roster via free agency or trade.

Our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran suggested tight end David Njoku could be a strong fit in New England after requesting a trade from the Cleveland Browns, and there are a number of quality free agents still on the market, as well.

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Twelve days ago, Cam Newton was still a free agent looking for work.

But ever since he agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots, he's been very busy trying to get ready for the 2020 season, learning the playbook and developing chemistry with his new receivers.

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In addition to N'Keal Harry, whose workout with Newton was captured on video, rookie tight end Devin Asiasi was also catching passes from New England's new quarterback. Twitter user amirmehrtash15 took pictures with both Asiasi and Newton at the UCLA practice session and posted them in reponse to the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels.

The workout wasn't limited to Patriots, as Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was also in attendance.

Newton trying to fast-track a relationship with his new teammates makes perfect sense. He set up his first practice with Mohamed Sanu on the day he signed his Patriots contract, and in less than two weeks, he's already connected with three of the guys who will be among his top receiving options in 2020.

The Patriots certainly hope all that extra work pays off, as training camps could open as soon as the end of this month once the NFL and NFLPA can finalize preseason dates.