Updated: Apr 17
The former Penn State standout will likely fill a void left by Brian Hoyer in New England's QB room. PIC: Penn State Athletics
Lots of buzz surrounding the quarterback situation has dominated all Patriots talk in the last few weeks. "Is Mac Jones here to stay?" "Will Bailey Zappe ever play a snap for the Pats again?" Or, less popularly, "Is Lamar Jackson a good fit in New England?"
Well, the Patriots made a quarterback move this week, but it wasn't necessarily the one fans were expecting.
New England signed Trace McSorley to a one-year deal, presumably for the team's minimum. The team didn't disclose the terms of the contract.
Let's get something straight: this has nothing to do with Mac Jones. I can't believe I actually am addressing this, but Trace McSorley is not here to compete with Jones. Say what you want about Mac, but it sure appears that he at least will be getting one more year at the helm of the Patriots offense. Who knows what it will look like next year; could a new face be in town if Jones doesn't accelerate in Bill O'Brien's offense at the clip they want him to? It's certainly a possibility. But McSorley won't be in the building to compete for starting minutes, let's make that clear.
Instead, the 3-quarterback room is back on for New England. For many years, the Patriots cruised with 3 QB's - generally speaking, it was Tom Brady, another miscellaneous quarterback depending on the time (Matt Cassel, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett, and - throwback here - Ryan Mallet), and Brian Hoyer. It appears they'll roll with it again.
McSorley, 27, was a standout at Penn State for his last three seasons there (2016-18). He still holds all-time single-season records at Happy Valley for passing yards, total yards, passing TD's, 300-yard passing games, and most consecutive games with a TD pass. He was selected 6th in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, backing up Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III.
McSorley didn't play much in Baltimore - in fact, he only appeared in 3 total games - but who can forget his relief appearance during the 2020 Covid season? The Steelers-Ravens game scheduled for Sunday Night Football earlier in the week was postponed due to COVID-19 ravaging both teams, and with the season winding down, the NFL knew it needed to get creative. So they flexed the game to Wednesday. With Lamar Jackson out and RG3 leaving the game with an injury, McSorley came in to close the gap, and threw a dime to Hollywood Brown. It wasn't anything that'll put him in the Hall of Fame, but it's a fun memory.
McSorley played in 6 games last year with the Arizona Cardinals' QB situation worsening after Kyler Murray's knee injury. He didn't throw a touchdown and surrendered 5 picks.
Overall, it's a low-impact signing with virtually no considerations. If anything, the QB room gets a bit more athletic, since we know Jones & Zappe can't really do anything besides throw the football hard. McSorley, though gives the QB room some mobility and adds another element of complexity. I'm obviously not expecting much, but it's a solid signing that hopefully can motivate Jones & Zappe to play at their highest levels.