Pats free-agent forecast: Quarterback

Pats free-agent forecast: Quarterback
March 12, 2012, 4:35 am
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This is the fifth in a series of position-by-position looks at the Patriots heading into free agency. Today's position: Quarterbacks.Who's on the roster?Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Ryan MallettPatriots need level?1. Position overview?If you want a quarterback for the next five years, you might say Aaron Rodgers is the guy. If you want a guy for 2012? Tom Brady. If a surefire Hall of Famer could be underrated, Brady is it. Five Super Bowl appearances in 10 seasons as a starter and people insisted he needed a Super Bowl win in February to "validate" his career and position as one of the five best to ever play the position? Right. Hoyer is the capable backup. He's a restricted free agent. Mallett is the rifleman in waiting. Who's out there?Who cares? Although I understand Peyton Manning is available. Okay, let's say Hoyer gets a nice deal and the Pats decline to match. Here are some backup options. Chad Henne, Dolphins: I really don't think he's that bad at all. Josh McCown, Bears: Again, competent backup who can run a team if worse comes to worst. Shaun Hill, Lions: See the McCown skinny. Other names of note?Not really. Free agent forecast?The Patriots won't be in on any free-agent quarterbacks unless Hoyer gets signed somewhere, and even then . . . They have their backup and their developmental guy. I'm personally interested to see what happens with Mallett down the road.