And now, heading into his third year as a professional, the Patriots still aren’t sure what they have in Mallett.
They could have a future NFL starter on their hands, or they could have a career backup. The thing is, as long as Tom Brady is still under center in New England, we’ll never get to see if Mallett has what it takes to be a good pro quarterback.
And since Brady doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon, rumors have been circulating that Mallett is on the trading block. As the draft approached this spring, there were rumblings that teams were interested in trading for the strong-armed passer, but nothing ever materialized.
Then things got interesting when the Patriots signed fellow quarterback Tim Tebow.
Tebow will give Mallett a true test for the backup role for the first time in his young career, and if the media magnet does turn out to be the guy, then Mallett would be expendable.
So it begs the question: why wouldn’t the Patriots make that decision now and trade Mallett for some draft picks?
We’ve seen guys with just a few decent NFL games under their belts go for multiple first-round picks, so you would think New England could get something around the third-round pick they originally used for Mallett from a team that wants more competition for their starting quarterback job.
And that would be pretty good, considering they’ve had the backup quarterback for two years and would be able to lose essentially nothing pick-wise for his services. That’s smart management.
It’s likely that the team is actively assessing what the market value for Mallett is right now, and if they can get good value from teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Philadelphia Eagles, who could use another good option at quarterback. The Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins would also be good candidates, but it’s unlikely the Patriots would trade Mallett in the division.
There’s still a chance that Tebow will be used in other areas of the offense and Mallett will stay as the no.2 guy in Foxboro this year, but his potential as a starter makes him an interesting trade asset this summer.