There is no way New England Patriots QB Tom Brady loses the starting job to Ryan Mallet, barring a catastrophic injury that ends his season. That just can’t happen. Please, please don’t let that happen. Brady is a future Hall of Famer and although the window is closing on his NFL career, the Patriots are still Brady’s team. So, what should the Patriots do with Mallet?
Mallet played at Arkansas, was drafted by the Patriots in the third round of the 2011 draft, and is currently listed as Brady’s backup on the depth chart. Mallet could be a really good starting QB in the NFL, but it is highly unlikely that he will get the chance to prove it in New England. Brady’s current contract keeps him under center in New England through the 2017 season. Twice Brady has signed contract extensions with the Patriots (2005 and his current contract) for far less than his market value. Brady has done this for one reason and one reason only — to win another Super Bowl. The Patriots have many needs to address this offseason. I have already written about the Patriots needing to work on their receiving corp and their need for another tight end. It would be an injustice to not surround Brady with the talent needed to win another Super Bowl.
There is a very good chance that at least one team in this passing/QB driven league would give up at least a third-round pick in the 2014 draft, or possibly an even higher pick in the 2015 draft for Mallet. If the Patriots receive a deal like that, they should jump on it. They could use the pick(s) they receive for Mallet to address some of their needs.
I know it’s important to have Brady’s successor lined up so it is a smooth transition, but there are always QBs available in each draft. I’m not saying there’s another Brady available in every draft, there isn’t. I’m saying that there are a number of QBs available in each draft and that QBs seem ready earlier to step into a starting role. It used to be standard for QBs to sit for 2-4 years as a backup and then take over the starting the role, but this is no longer the case. Now, it’s common place for QBs to take over the starting job in their rookie seasons.
I understand that it could benefit the Patriots to keep Mallet for now, so he could help the rookie learn the system, just as they kept Brian Hoyer in 2011 to help Mallet. That’s not fair to Mallet, who deserves a shot to start somewhere, and is that really necessary? I say no. There are plenty of players/personnel to help the rookie learn the system — Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
The Brady era will come to an end in the somewhat near future, and the Patriots need to be prepared for that. They also need to win now while Brady is still under center. The Patriots can possibly achieve both if they trade Mallet and draft intelligently.