Tom Brady’s backup QBs, ranked: how TB12’s QB2s fared after leaving the shadow of the GOAT
The backup quarterback is the most popular person on the team. Unless, of course, the starter is Tom Brady.
Throughout Brady’s career, many quarterbacks who sat behind “TB12” continued to play in NFL games. Of course, there are different results for each of them, but one thing is certain: none were “Tom Terrific”.
To that end, Bill Belichick’s resume when it comes to recruiting quarterback talent isn’t exactly a tried and tested commodity. Without Brady, there’s a good chance Belichick is wallowing in the darkness of QB, wondering when the phone would ring again for his next job.
Really, it can be slightly hyperbolic – but we’ll never know for sure one way or another.
Here’s how those quarterbacks fared after supporting Brady:
8. Jarrett Stidham *
Years in backup: 2019
* We’re starting with an asterisk here, as Stidham is the only player on this list who hasn’t started a game yet after supporting Brady.
Stidham was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and some expected him to be a malleable prospect for Belichick to squeeze under center after Brady retired (or, as it turned out to be , his departure). Stidham has appeared in eight games so far in his NFL career, and he hasn’t shown much.
Belichick’s little confidence in Stidham as a starter was neatly summed up by the 2020 offseason: rather than sticking with the sophomore to see what he has as QB1, the Patriots signed Cam Newton for pennies on the dollar at the end of the offseason, giving him full offense reign in 2020. It was a largely mixed bag for the Pats in 2020, but Stidham is currently projecting himself as a career save, the optionally.
7. Ryan Mallett
Years in backup: 2011-2013
The massive-armed Mallett was the Patriots’ highest selection for quarterback since Drew Bledsoe was ranked No.1 overall in 1993, selected in the third round from Arkansas in 2011.
After being inactive his rookie season, Mallett was promoted to second chain quarterback in 2012, appearing in four games for New England in 2012 before being traded to the Texans in 2014 for a conditional sixth-round pick.
What anyone in Houston saw at Mallett was guessable: They were probably in love with his preseason performance, and a sixth-round pick for a potential franchise passer isn’t exactly a high price to pay. .
Mallett fought with another Brady replacement (a recurring theme) in 2015 before being traded to the Ravens as an emergency starter following injuries to Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub. He last played in 2017 for the Ravens.
6. Damon Huard
Years in backup: 2001-2003
Huard lost the QB2 job to a dude named Brady in 2001, spending two seasons in New England before eventually starting a lot of games with the Chiefs between 2006 and 2008.
Loon won two Super Bowl rings as Brady’s replacement and turned that into another save job with Kansas City. He would replace injured Trent Green in 2006 and earn overtime with his game – before finally being replaced by another Brady replacement in 2009.
5. Brian Hoyer
Years in backup: 2009-2011, 2017-2018
The busiest of all Brady’s substitutes, Hoyer started 39 games in six different franchises, the most famous being a run with his hometown of Cleveland Browns in 2013. Hoyer’s season would be cut short after he suffered an injury. at LCA.
He would start again in Cleveland for the 2014 season, but with diminishing returns, and would later make jumps to Houston, Chicago, New England (again) and Indianapolis, starting everywhere except New England.
A well-respected veteran substitute, Hoyer is back on the New England bench again, this time presumably helping to train rookie QB Mac Jones. He started a single game in 2020, replacing a COVID-stricken Cam Newton for a single game.
4. Matt Cassel
Years in backup: 2005-2008
Cassel serves as a warning to any team trying to recreate that New England quarterback magic outside the confines of Gillette Stadium.
The USC product replaced injured Tom Brady in 2008, leading the Patriots to an 11-5 record in Brady’s absence, ultimately missing the playoffs. Cassel would be traded from New England to Kansas City the following offseason (as the former New England front-office man took the reins at Kansas City), replacing Damon Huard (remember him?) and almost instantly signing a six-year, $ 62.7 million contract. with the Chiefs to be their franchise passer.
What happened next is a bit of unhappy football history: Cassel became a fairly average passer for the Chiefs, facing injuries throughout his tenure, throwing 59 TDs to 44 interceptions in 48 games with KC. He didn’t reach the heights he did during this a season with the Patriots, although the situation around him at Arrowhead was not ideal.
Cassel would start games for the Vikings, Titans and Cowboys after his run to Kansas City, never reaching the production he achieved with the Patriots.
3. Jacoby Brissett
Years in backup: 2016
Brissett’s final stop is in South Beach, supporting – and currently starting instead – an injured Tua Tagovailoa.
Brissett had the opportunity to debut in the NFL, getting an extended look with the Colts, playing in place of injured Andrew Luck. Of all the backups that have passed through Brady’s shadow, Brissett arguably made the most of every opportunity that was presented to him and actually turned his opportunity into a good production – and a few good paydays.
Interestingly, Brissett only had one season under Brady’s shadow before New England traded to the Colts in 2017 for Phillip Dorsett, with Indy needing depth at QB when Luck s ‘is hurt.
2. Drew Bledsoe
Years of backup: 2001
Brady replaced the former No. 1 overall pick as New England’s starting quarterback in 2001 after Mo Lewis knocked out Bledsoe in one game (and in a Bills uniform the following season).
Even after his return, Bill Belichick decided to hitch his cart to Brady, which caught the attention of many in the NFL world.
The rest, so to speak, is history.
Bledsoe would remain in New England until the next offseason, when New England traded the veteran to the Bills in exchange for a first-round pick. Bledsoe would have had three Bledsoe-ian years with the Bills before ending his career with the Cowboys.
1. Jimmy Garoppolo
Years of backup: 2014-2017
One of eastern Illinois’ many prides, Jimmy GQ was once the apparent heir – and the apparent source of the drama – to Brady in New England, until he was sent to the 49ers for a mid-season second-round pick in 2017.
Garoppolo would start immediately for the 49ers, leading them to a 5-0 home stretch record in 2017. Garoppolo suffered an ACL injury in 2018, playing in just three games, returning in 2019 and making a Super Bowl appearance. with the 49ers that season. , losing against the Chiefs.
Garoppolo’s future in San Francisco is a bit hazy at the moment, as the team selected quarterback Trey Lance with the No.3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but when he is in good health, he has been a perfectly usable quarterback for the 49ers.
But of all of Brady’s backups written to “replace” him, or just be, well, a backup, Garoppolo has shown the most promise and has actually lived with the potential.
Even though Brady may or may not think he’s a “mother f — er.”