Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Eason has the type of big frame and arm strength that might tantalize Bill Belichick, but he’s considered more of a developmental project than someone who can step right in and replace Tom Brady.
Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are the only quarterbacks on the Patriots roster. Stidham was their fourth-round pick a year ago, while Hoyer is a career backup on his third stint in New England.
While it’s possible that the Patriots add a veteran later this offseason—Cam Newton and Jameis Winston remain free agents—they have one of the tightest cap sheets in football. Newton or Winston would have to take a sizable pay cut to join New England, even if there is interest.
Drafting a quarterback is the more viable route, but the Patriots lack in draft capital. They have only one pick in the first two rounds (No. 23), and the likeliest quarterback to be available in that spot is Utah State’s Jordan Love—a talented project but a project nonetheless. New England does not pick again until No. 87 overall.
Eason was the top-rated quarterback coming out of the 2016 high school class but never lived up to his hype at collegiate stops at Georgia and Washington. He lost his starting job to Jake Fromm in 2017 before transferring to Washington, where he put up mediocre numbers in a largely forgettable season.
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The draw to Eason is untapped arm potential, but he lacks the type of pocket mobility most top-flight quarterbacks in the modern NFL have. If the Patriots are truly looking to innovate in the post-Brady era, odds are they’ll look for someone who brings something a little more with his feet.
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