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The second-year quarterback out of Auburn played well during the 2019 preseason, completing 67.8% of his pass attempts for 731 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. However, Stidham has attempted just four regular-season passes, and he may now be asked to replace arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
Bill Belichick starting the season with Stidham under center isn't out of the question. Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels believe in their system, and the Patriots have gone 14-6 with Matt Cassel, Jimmy Garoppolo, or Jacoby Brissett at quarterback when Brady was either injured or suspended.
While Stidham is the favorite to open the 2020 season as the Patriots' starting quarterback, there are some other intriguing names on the list, with 2015 MVP Cam Newton leading the way.
Newton is the biggest name on the list, but there are a couple of factors working against him.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, team doctors aren't allowed to examine players in person. A third-party doctor must do the examination, with the results sent to the team. Newton is coming off shoulder and foot surgeries over the last two years, so teams may shy away until they're cleared to examine him personally.
While Newton is a dynamic player, he's completed only 59.6% of his career pass attempts. The Patriots' offense requires quarterbacks to make reads at the line of scrimmage and deliver the ball quickly. That's not Newton's strength, making him overvalued at +200.
Dalton is the best bet. The Bengals are reportedly looking to trade the veteran, and he's a good fit on paper for the Patriots. The most likely scenario is Belichick bringing in someone to compete with Stidham for the starting job and also be a dependable backup, and Dalton fits the bill. He led the Bengals to four 10-plus win seasons and has completed 62% of his career throws. Stidham is the clear favorite right now to succeed Brady, but Dalton at +600 is worth a look, as he checks all the boxes to play in the Patriots' system.
Winston, meanwhile, is a quarterback without a home after Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Chargers announced they will move forward with Tyrod Taylor. The 2015 No. 1 pick remains an intriguing talent, but turnovers are an obvious issue. Winston threw an NFL-high 30 interceptions last season, and he's logged 88 picks in 72 career games.
How about the guy who beat Belichick twice in the Super Bowl replacing Brady?
While it makes for a good story, don't expect the recently retired Manning to land in New England. He isn't interested in being a backup, and it's hard to see the borderline Hall of Famer beating out Stidham at this point in his career. Pass on Manning's long odds, and instead, put a little pizza money on Derek Carr at 14-1.
Thomas Casale is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. A devoted fan of the wishbone offense, Thomas bets on all sports but specializes in college football, NFL, and college basketball. Find him on Twitter @TheTomCasale.