Bill Belichick shook up the New England Patriots’ depth chart at quarterback with the selection of Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the draft. It appears he may be done making moves at the position.
That includes veteran backup Ryan Mallett, who enters the final year of his four-year rookie contract.
There has been mounting speculation that Mallett could be dealt before his deal expires, but Belichick seemed to put an end to that speculation in an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Thursday.
“That’s not really something we’re that interested in,” Belichick said, when asked if the Patriots had fielded calls from other teams about trading for Mallett. “Ryan has done a good job for us. Fortunately for our team, maybe unfortunately for Ryan, he hasn’t really had any playing time in the last three years. But he’s improved tremendously as a quarterback and as a football player, and we have a lot of confidence in him.”
The Patriots carried three quarterbacks in Mallett’s rookie year, with Brian Hoyer as the primary backup to allow Mallett a year to adjust to the NFL. Mallett will likely remain the top backup for the 2014 season, with Garoppolo in the No. 3 spot.
He is 111-of-206 for 1,104 yards, 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in the preseason, but his regular season opportunities have been limited. He is just 1-of-4 for 17 yards and an interception in the regular season.
Belichick said after the draft that it’s “better to be early than late” in addressing the quarterback position, and he elaborated on some of the reasoning behind drafting a quarterback in the second round with a talented player already on the roster.
“Jimmy was a player we had with a high grade on,” Belichick said. “At that position I don’t think you can afford to pass up a player that you think has that kind of value. We feel like we have a good quarterback situation. I think there’s a lot of teams in the league that maybe don’t feel good about that position, and that’s not a good position to not feel good about. We feel very good about the players we have at that spot.”
If the Patriots are unable or unwilling to trade Mallett before the season begins, he could be on his way out when his contract expires when the season ends.