With Tom Brady set to hit free agency, New England Patriots backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham is only focused on his growth.
In fact, if the Patriots and Brady do not work something out of the 42-year-old quarterback to finish his career in New England, it will be because of how the team feels about the third-round draft pick and his ability to lead the team in 2020 or 2021.
If Bill Belichick does not believe the young quarterback is ready, bringing back Tom Brady for at least another season will be in his best interest.
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Of course, there will be some other options out there if Jarrett Stidham is not ready, but the best path for Stidham becoming the next guy for the New England Patriots is to play another year behind Brady. We all see what Jimmy Garoppolo is doing with the San Francisco 49ers and what Jacoby Brissett did for the Indianapolis Colts.
As young quarterbacks who played behind Brady, each have taken what they have taken a piece of what they have learned from him and transcended those traits into their own leadership as starting quarterbacks. Like them, Jarrett Stidham is focused on his own development and being ready when his name is called.
"“Right now, I can’t really think too much about all of that. I have to worry about what I need to do to prepare to enhance my game, to learn as much as I possibly can,” Stidham told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “That’s the biggest thing I’ve focused on, making a big stride from Year 1 to Year 2.”"
With an eye-opening preseason, Stidham definitely brings excitement to the field. But off the field, the value of having Tom Brady as a teammate may be the biggest benefit in his career.
Speaking of that value, Stidham called just being in the presence of a Hall-of-Fame quarterback like Brady priceless in what he has learned from him and how he was embraced by him as a teammate.
"“It was priceless. It’s going to be really cool one day when I can sit there and tell my children, or my grandkids one day, that I got to be in the same quarterback room and talking about coverages and different concepts with Tom,” Stidham continued. “He’s a phenomenal teammate, a phenomenal person, obviously a phenomenal player. There was just so much that I got to learn from him. He was obviously very open to me about stuff that he’s thought about the game of football, and stuff like that. It was great. I can’t speak highly enough of that guy.”"
If the team feels he is, Bill Belichick will be fine with moving forward. If he is not, the New England Patriots will have an even bigger decision to make. Given the fact that Tom Brady was just in his second season when he was thrown into the fire, handing the keys over to the Auburn product isn’t as scary as it seems.