It looks like another veteran quarterback is on the move.
The Eagles are expected to trade Carson Wentz soon and are looking for “a Matthew Stafford package” in return, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported Saturday.
If the Eagles do get a Stafford-like deal, they would be getting two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and a veteran quarterback. The Lions are reportedly getting Jared Goff, two first-round picks (2022 and ’23), a third-round pick (2021) for Stafford.
The Patriots can offer the draft picks part of the package, but they lack the experienced quarterback part. With Cam Newton and Brian Hoyer set to hit free agency when the new league year starts in March, Jarrett Stidham is the only quarterback the Patriots can offer in any trade.
Of course, the big question is “Are the Patriots interested in acquiring Wentz?” The Eagles quarterback struggled mightily in 2020. Wentz had career-worsts in passing yards, interceptions, and passer in 2020. His 16 touchdown passes tied his rookie season total, tying his career-low.
In addition to his poor play, Wentz would also cost a lot from a money standpoint, too. Whichever team acquires Wentz would have him under contract for four years with a $98.4 million salary, according to Over The Cap. However, only half of that (two years, $47.4 million) is guaranteed.
So, with all of that considered, it wouldn’t be a shock if teams aren’t lining up with offers for Wentz, especially with what the Eagles are reportedly asking for in return.
And it appears the Patriots are one of those teams that are ready to trade for Wentz. The Athletic’s Patriots beat writer Jeff Howe tweeted Saturday that it “Doesn’t sound like the Patriots are serious suitors in the Carson Wentz trade discussions.”
Doesn’t sound like the Patriots are serious suitors in the Carson Wentz trade discussions.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) February 7, 2021
ESPN’s Patriots beat reporter Mike Reiss laid out a possible scenario in which the Patriots acquire Wentz and draft compensation for taking on his contract (citing the Rams trading Goff and two first-round draft picks to the Lions). However, he wrote that it, “Seems unlikely.”
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer also views a Wentz-to-the-Patriots trade as unlikely. In addition to citing Wentz’s poor play and contract plus the Eagles’ demand for a strong return, Breer also doesn’t think Wentz’s personality would clash well with Bill Belichick’s.
“As for the Patriots, I think as a player, there’s a sense maybe they could fix some things about him and get him back on his feet,” Breer said on NBC Sports Boston’s “Early Edition.” “I just don’t know about the personality fit. Like, this is a guy who traditionally has not taken hard coaching very well, and we all know if you can’t take hard coaching well, Foxboro’s probably not the place for you.”
Even though a Patriots trade for Wentz probably isn’t happening, Breer thinks that “the Patriots are checking in on everything at this point” when it comes to quarterbacks.
A veteran quarterback that is being speculated as a possibility for the Patriots is Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Raiders quarterback could be the odd man out of the equation in Las Vegas after the team re-signed Nathan Peterman on Thursday.
With Mariota’s salary number being $11.3 million for the upcoming season after backing up Derek Carr for all of 2020, the Raiders could release Mariota they’re currently projected to be above the salary cap for next season.
Reiss thinks that factoring in “potential availability, modest cost and upside,” Mariota could end up being the veteran quarterback the Patriots bring in.
“[Mariota] has played under four coaches and five coordinators in six NFL seasons,” Reiss wrote. “Maybe the stability of the Belichick/Josh McDaniels pairing is a nice match for him.”
The case for Mariota is interesting. The former No. 2 overall pick had some success to start his career with the Titans, throwing 3,246 yards and 26 touchdowns in his second season. However, in that same season, Mariota fractured his right fibula and hasn’t reached those same heights since. The Titans eventually moved on from Mariota when his rookie contract expired after the 2019 season.
The Raiders signed Mariota to a two-year, $17.6 million contract last offseason. Mariota only made one appearance the whole season, filling in for Carr after he got hurt in the team’s Week 15 matchup against the Chargers. Mariota threw for 226 yards plus a touchdown and an interception while adding another 88 yards on the ground in the Raiders’ loss.
Breer also thinks that Mariota could very well be the veteran quarterback the Patriots end up getting.
“Do you like Marcus Mariota? Honestly, that’s probably what we’re looking at,” Breer said. “If you don’t want to pay in this neighborhood, you’re not going to get a quarterback like this. It’s crazy out there right now, and if you’re gonna swim in these waters you have to understand the cost of admission. That’s sort of what it is right now and so, the other question is do you want to do that sort of thing or would you rather try and find yourself a Ryan Tannehill type of reclamation project.”
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