If Tom Brady’s magical run with the Patriots is really over as multiple reports suggest is likely, one interested party said Jarrett Stidham, his backup this past season, is more than ready to take over the reigns in New England.
“The interesting thing about Jarrett — and how the Patriots might look at it a little bit — is he’s been through a lot of adversity in his life,” Stidham’s agent Brian Murphy told the Boston Herald. “He’s been through a lot of adversity in college, so I think he’ll handle it great … he’ll do the same thing he did last year, he’ll keep his mouth shut, work hard as hard as he can and do what they tell him to do.”
Stidham’s path to the NFL wasn’t clear at first. He began his college football career at Baylor but started just three games there as a true freshman before transferring to McLennan Community College. He eventually found a home at Auburn, where he thrived as a starter for the Tigers in 2017 and was a team captain in 2018. He also completed more than 60 percent of his passes in both seasons at Auburn
Despite a solid college resume, Stidham — who was selected by the Patriots near the end of the fourth round of last year’s draft — saw limited action last season playing behind the durable Brady.
Jets fans saw a bit of Stidham during their team’s 30-14 loss to the Patriots last season. Stidham came on in relief in the fourth quarter of the blowout victory, but wasn’t impressive. He went 2-of-3, throwing a pick-six to safety Jamal Adams in the 30-14 win as Brady quickly re-entered to replace the rookie. For the season, Stidham was 2-of-4 for 14 yards.
Murphy said he doesn’t have any inside knowledge of the Patriots’ plans regarding Brady. But he added that Stidham’s knowledge of the way the Patriots do business works and his familiarity with their offensive system works in his favor, if the Patriots decide to make a franchise-altering change.
“He’s spent a year in the system. He’s got a lot left to learn, like most players do in the NFL,” Murphy said. “But having been with Josh (McDaniels) in every meeting for a year now, it would certainly give him an advantage over other people coming in, trying to learn the system.”
Stidham has been working with well-known quarterback guru Jordan Palmer this offseason. Many other signal callers are there, including Sam Darnold and Josh Allen, both entering their third seasons as starters. Joe Burrow, widely expected to be the first quarterback taken in this year’s NFL draft, also has been at these workouts.
“He’s working really hard,” said Murphy, referring to Stidham. “He spent the year really trying to learn the Patriots offense, and do what rookies do: keep his mouth shut and learn as much as he can and now he’s working on his game.”