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Patriots options at QB now that Tom Brady is departing

The Patriots have some decisions to make with Tom Brady not returning in 2020.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick leaves his press conference following their playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The news many expected still caught us a little bit by surprise on Tuesday. Free agent quarterback Tom Brady announced on social media that he will not be returning to the New England Patriots this fall. He did not announce his next destination, but it will not be his home for the past 20 years.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers have both been aggressive with offers to Brady, per reports, but New England faces its own question at the quarterback position. Jarrett Stidham and Cody Kessler are still on the roster, but it’s hard to see either emerging as the Patriots best option in 2020.

The Patriots have some options, but they have some limitations as well. They currently have a little under $8 million in cap space. They can add some options, but it does limit their chances of dramatically improving the position. In the draft, they hold the 23rd pick in the first round, no picks in the second round, and 12 total picks following the addition of four compensation picks.

All of that leaves some very specific options. There has been some talk that Andy Dalton makes sense for New England, but with the QB due $17.5 million in base salary, that would require either a re-worked contract or the Patriots doing some roster maneuvering. I suspect we’d see more of the latter with a Dalton deal. Another option would be Teddy Bridgewater, who could still prove costly, but a multi-year deal could allow for the hits to be pushed down the road.

For the draft, the Patriots have no chance at Joe Burrow and probably wouldn’t be able to move high enough for Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. However, Utah State product Jordan Love could still slip. The Patriots aren’t in a great spot at No. 23, which creates for some tricky decision-making.