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As Tom Brady gets ready for his 10th Super Bowl — and first without the Patriots — his former team is still searching for his replacement.
And according to one of Brady’s retired former teammates, Matthew Stafford would be the ideal solution in New England.
“I would say New England is a perfect choice for him,” said Harrison, who is now an analyst with NBC Sports. “He can go in there [and] they have a good defense. They’re gonna add a couple more guys. They can build on the offense and go draft an offensive player, pick up some guys in free agency.”
Stafford is just one possibility for the Patriots — and any other team looking for a quarterback — this offseason, with significant turnover expected before next year.
In addition to Stafford requesting a trade out of Detroit, Deshaun Watson is also looking to get out of Houston, and Aaron Rodgers called his future in Green Bay “uncertain” following the Packers’ playoff loss to Brady and the Buccaneers.
There’s also Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco and Matt Ryan in Atlanta who could be on the move.
ESPN.com reported that the Lions have already started fielding calls from interested teams after reports of an imminent divorce coming.
The Patriots will no doubt be looking at all options after Cam Newton struggled in his season with Bill Belichick.
As of now, they have just Jarrett Stidham (and Jake Dolegala, who spent last season on the practice swuad) on the roster, so they clearly need to add someone. Harrison believes Stafford is the right choice.
“Matthew Stafford has never been considered a leader, but they don’t need his leadership,” Harrison said on “Safety Blitz” with Jac Collinsworth. “They need him to throw the ball and make completions down the field. They have enough leadership, they have Bill [Belichick], they have some of those older veterans on the defensive side of the ball. They have a good offensive line that can protect him. They have a run game.”
But they also need more than just the soon-to-be 33-year-old Stafford, as Newton failed in New England not only because of his own limitations, but also due to weaknesses throughout the roster. Belichick acknowledged the team’s shortcomings, blaming them on a salary cap crunch created by moves made in previous seasons as the Patriots tried to extend their Brady-led dynasty.
Heading into this offseason, though, they have $60 million in cap space and Stafford is affordable — by elite QB standards — at $20 million for this season.
“Bill needs to add another tight end and go get another couple wide receivers and spend some money in free agency,’’ Harrison said. “But I think Matthew Stafford could be a perfect fit there because they don’t need him to come in and galvanize everybody like Brady did. They just need him to complete some passes and not throw it into the ground like Cam does every other throw.”
If the Patriots are interested, they’ll have competition, with the Colts in need of a replacement for the retired Philip Rivers, and potentially the 49ers if they decide to move on from Garoppolo.
Washington would also make sense for Stafford, especially after they hired Martin Mayhew to be their new general manager. Mayhew was the GM in Detroit when the Lions made Stafford the top overall pick out of Georgia in the 2009 NFL Draft.
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