The Patriots appeared to create the perfect succession plan back in 2014. Bill Belichick tabbed Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round with the idea that he quite possibly could replace Tom Brady sometime in the not-to-distant future.
We all remember the coach explaining how Brady's age and contract situation dictated the action, and with Garoppolo developing nicely as the backup, all signs seemed to point toward a bright future.
But then Brady began defying all logic and performed at an MVP level as a 40-year-old quarterback. In fact, he won the MVP, and then completed arguably the greatest postseason of his illustrious career and capped it with a 505-yard performance in the Super Bowl, albeit in a losing effort.
Before Brady tore up the competition in the postseason, Belichick and the Patriots had already seen enough. Garoppolo was dealt at the trade deadline to San Francisco, leaving the Patriots without a viable option to succeed Brady - if and when the day that might be necessary ever comes.
So with that in mind we decided to tackle the backup quarterback situation in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case question. Do the Patriots need to draft their quarterback of the future this spring?
PFW's Andy Hart says …
It's easy to watch Tom Brady continue to perform at a high level and believe the good times will last forever. But the reality is Brady will be 41 in August, and to expect him to carry the team for the next few years might be asking a bit too much.
This draft is pretty deep at quarterback, and the abundance of free agents who will be available in the coming weeks might diminish the amount of teams who will be in the market for a passer come draft time. That could make the timing perfect for Bill Belichick to take the one he likes the most, allow some time for him develop under Josh McDaniels, and create another plan for the future.
It's difficult to predict how quarterbacks will develop, so it's tough to wait and assume you can find one any time you want. Grab a quarterback somewhere in the second or third round now and hope you select the right one. Because at some point Brady isn't going to be around to run the show anymore.
PFW's Paul Perillo says …
This might fall into an argument of semantics but I don't feel the Patriots should be compelled to take a quarterback this season – unless there's one that Bill Belichick likes too much to pass up. Tom Brady is still performing as well as ever, and based on his postseason efforts the end doesn't seem to be coming anytime soon.
Instead of taking a quarterback for the sake of taking one, use those picks to get some help on defense so Brady can be comfortable enough to think 33 points and 505 yards will be enough to win the Super Bowl. I would prefer that Belichick sticks to the draft board and focuses on helping the team rather than looking for the next guy – who may not truly be needed for another few years.
I understand the importance of finding the next quarterback, and it's unfortunate that the timing with Garoppolo didn't work out. But that doesn't mean his replacement needs to be found immediately. Wait and see what the draft brings, but don't be backed into a corner.