Are the Patriots actually tanking for Trevor?

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have done little in the wake of Tom Brady’s exit, leading to the question: are they actually tanking for Trevor Lawrence?

The New England Patriots have done little to fill the void at quarterback left by Tom Brady following his departure for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

New England brought back Brian Hoyer on a one-year deal, indicating the Patriots are happy to roll with Jarrett Stidham – last year’s fourth-round pick – for the 2020 season.

Based on Stidham’s contributions as a rookie — he completed two of his four passes for 14 yards and a pick-six in 2019 — going with the former Auburn passer as a starter is a recipe for a losing season for New England.

That has led to suggestions that Bill Belichick may be tanking 2020 to make sure he leaves the Patriots with a legitimate quarterback of the future in Clemson star Trevor Lawrence.

Lawrence is — barring injury — certain to be selected first-overall in the 2021 draft.

It is not too far fetched to suggest that could be in Belichick’s plans. By gifting the Patriots Lawrence, he would be putting New England in a position to succeed long after he has given up his coaching career.

However, the Patriots would not have drafted Stidham in the fourth round if they did not believe in him.

New England has retained enough talent on defense to remain among the best in the NFL on that side of the ball. If Belichick can get the most out of that defense and limit Stidham’s mistakes to the extent that they can compete for an AFC East title, it would surely rank among his best coaching jobs.

With the 23rd-overall pick in this year’s draft, the Patriots are unlikely to be in a position to draft a quarterback who can make an immediate difference. If they do not want to sign Jameis Winston or pursue a trade for Cam Newton, seeing what they have in Stidham may be the best option.

The limited sample size Stidham put on show in 2019 suggests going with him as a starter would put them in a position to land Lawrence with a losing season.

New England may not be intentionally tanking for Lawrence but, if the Patriots stick with their current quarterback situation, there is every chance they could end up with the ideal replacement for the greatest of all time.

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