The New England Patriots made headlines today after trading backup quarterback Ryan Mallett to the Houston Texans. The Patriots will receive a conditional seventh-round pick back, depending on how well Mallett performs in Houston. The trade means that rookie Jimmy Garoppolo has officially taken over as Tom Brady‘s backup for the 2014 season. The Patriots may feel content with Garoppolo as a backup, but they no longer have a third-string quarterback on their roster. That’s where Terrelle Pryor would come into play.
While Garoppolo did look very good at times for the Patriots this preseason, he is still just a rookie. Adding a quarterback like Pryor would give the Patriots a backup with some starting experience in an NFL offense. He is still young enough to make something of himself in the league at just 25 years old. He would be afforded an opportunity in New England to prove that he can still play while, at the same time, learning under one of the best quarterbacks of all time in Tom Brady and a Hall-of-Fame coach in Bill Belichick.
As for what Pryor could bring to the Patriots, he has a skill set unlike any quarterback in the league right now. He has prototypical size at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, elite speed (4.38 40-yard dash time) and above-average arm strength. The questions with Pryor have to do with his inconsistent accuracy and footwork in the pocket. Under Belichick and Brady, there is a chance those issues could be worked out to the point where he is a productive starting quarterback in the future.
Brady won’t be around forever, and Pryor will be only 29 when Brady’s contract runs out. He could potentially compete with Garoppolo when the time comes to find Brady a successor. Should Brady get hurt, it would give the Patriots another option to go to in the short term. It’s not as if Pryor is unwilling to learn either.
In a recent TMZ conversation, Pryor said that he wants to be more than just a scrambler; he wants to be a great quarterback. He also added that he studies Brady and other great quarterbacks on film frequently. Instead of studying from afar, why not learn from the best face-to-face? It makes sense for both parties, and the Patriots should at least do their due diligence on Pryor.
Belichick has never had a quarterback with the athleticism of Pryor, and with the way the league is heading, you need guys who can move under center. If he doesn’t work out, the Patriots could simply cut him with very little expense on their end. If he does work out, they would have a dynamic quarterback rivaling a Cam Newton or Michael Vick. Pryor to the Patriots may not happen and the team may be content carrying two quarterbacks, but it is at least something to think about for New England.