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Tom Brady’s backup QBs, ranked: How TB12’s QB2s fared after leaving the GOAT’s shadow


The backup quarterback is the hottest individual on the group. Unless, after all, the starter is Tom Brady.

Throughout Brady’s profession, many quarterbacks who’ve sat behind “TB12” have gone on to play in video games in the NFL. Of course, there are differing outcomes for all of them, however one factor’s for certain: None have been “Tom Terrific.”

To that finish, Bill Belichick’s resume with regards to drafting quarterback expertise is not precisely a tried-and-true and confirmed commodity. Had it not been for Brady, there is a respectable probability that Belichick could be wallowing in QB obscurity, questioning when the telephone would ring once more for his subsequent job.

Really, that is perhaps barely hyperbolic — however we’ll by no means know for certain a method or the different.

Here’s how these quarterbacks fared after they backed up Brady: 

8. Jarrett Stidham*

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Years as a backup: 2019

*We begin with an asterisk right here, as a result of Stidham is the solely participant on this record to have but to start out a sport after backing up Brady.

Stidham was drafted in the fourth spherical of the 2019 NFL Draft, and a few anticipated him to be a moldable prospect for Belichick to insert below heart after Brady’s retirement (or, because it proved to be, his departure). Stidham has appeared in eight video games thus far in his NFL profession, and he hasn’t showcased a lot of something.

Belichick’s little religion in Stidham as a starter was completely encapsulated by the 2020 offseason: Rather than stick to the second-year participant to see what he is received as QB1, the Patriots signed Cam Newton for pennies on the greenback late in the offseason, giving him full reign of the offense in 2020. It was a largely blended bag altogether for the Pats in 2020, however Stidham is at present projecting as a profession backup, if something.

7. Ryan Mallett

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Years as a backup: 2011-2013

The massive-armed Mallett was the highest choice the Patriots made at quarterback since Drew Bledsoe was taken No. 1 general in 1993, picked in the third spherical out of Arkansas in 2011. 

After being inactive his rookie season, Mallett was promoted to second-string quarterback in 2012, showing in 4 video games for New England in 2012 earlier than he was traded to the Texans in 2014 for a conditional sixth-round decide.

What anybody in Houston noticed in Mallett was anybody’s guess: They have been seemingly enamored with the his preseason efficiency, and a sixth-round decide for a possible franchise passer is not precisely a hefty worth to pay.

Mallett battled it out with yet one more Brady backup (a recurring theme) in 2015 earlier than being traded to the Ravens as emergency starter following accidents to each Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub. He final performed in 2017 for the Ravens.

6. Damon Huard

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Years as a backup: 2001-2003

Huard misplaced out on the QB2 job to some dude named Brady in 2001, spending two seasons in New England earlier than finally beginning loads of video games with the Chiefs between 2006 and 2008. 

Huard gained two Super Bowl rings as Brady’s backup and parlayed that into one other backup job with Kansas City. He would substitute an injured Trent Green in 2006 and earn himself an extension together with his play — earlier than finally being changed by one other Brady backup in 2009.

5. Brian Hoyer

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Years as a backup: 2009-2011, 2017-2018

The most well-traveled of any of Brady’s backups, Hoyer began 39 video games throughout six totally different franchises, most famously getting a run together with his hometown Cleveland Browns in 2013. Hoyer’s season could be minimize brief after falling sufferer to an ACL harm.

He would begin once more in Cleveland for the 2014 season, however to diminishing returns, and later would make jumps to Houston, Chicago, New England (once more) and Indianapolis, beginning in all places however New England.

A well-respected veteran backup, Hoyer as soon as once more is again on New England’s bench, this time presumably serving to educate up rookie QB Mac Jones. He began a single sport in 2020, changing a COVID-stricken Cam Newton for a single sport. 

4. Matt Cassel

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Years as a backup: 2005-2008

Cassel serves as the cautionary story for any group making an attempt to recreate that New England quarterback magic outdoors the confines of Gillette Stadium. 

The USC product changed an injured Tom Brady in 2008, main the Patriots to a 11-5 document in Brady’s absence, in the end lacking out on the playoffs. Cassel could be traded from New England to Kansas City the following offseason (as former New England entrance workplace man took over the reins in Kansas City), changing Damon Huard (Remember him?) and nearly immediately signing a six-year, $62.7 million contract with the Chiefs to be their franchise passer.

What occurred subsequent is a little bit of unlucky soccer historical past: Cassel went on to be a fairly common passer for the Chiefs, coping with accidents all through his tenure, throwing 59 touchdowns to 44 interceptions throughout 48 video games with KC. He did not attain the highs that he did throughout that one season with the Patriots, even when the scenario round him in Arrowhead wasn’t splendid.

Cassel would begin video games for the Vikings, Titans and Cowboys after his Kansas City run, by no means reaching the manufacturing he did whereas with the Patriots.

3. Jacoby Brissett

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Years as a backup: 2016

Brissett’s newest cease is in South Beach, backing up — and at present beginning rather than — an injured Tua Tagovailoa. 

Brissett has gotten his alternative to start out in the NFL, getting and prolonged look with the Colts, taking part in rather than an injured Andrew Luck. Of all the backups which have handed by way of Brady’s shadow, Brissett has made arguably the most of any alternative given to him, and really parlayed his alternative into some good manufacturing — and a few good paydays. 

Interestingly sufficient, Brissett had simply a single season below Brady’s shadow earlier than New England traded him to the Colts in 2017 in trade for Phillip Dorsett, with Indy needing the depth at QB when Luck went down with an harm.

2. Drew Bledsoe

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Years as backup: 2001

Brady changed the incumbent former No. 1 general decide as New England beginning quarterback in 2001 after Mo Lewis knocked Bledsoe out of a sport (and right into a Bills uniform the following season). 

Even after he returned, Bill Belichick determined to hitch his wagon to Brady, which caught the consideration of many in the NFL world.

The relaxation, as if say, is historical past.

Bledsoe would stay in New England till the following offseason, when New England traded the veteran to the Bills in trade for a first-round decide. Bledsoe would have three Bledsoe-ian years with the Bills earlier than ending out his profession with the Cowboys. 

1. Jimmy Garoppolo

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Years as backup: 2014-2017

One of the many prides of Eastern Illinois, Jimmy GQ was as soon as the inheritor obvious — and the obvious supply of drama — to Brady in New England, till he was shipped off to the 49ers for a second-round decide mid-season in 2017.

Garoppolo would begin for the 49ers instantly, main them to a 5-0 document down the stretch in 2017. Garoppolo suffered an ACL harm in 2018, taking part in in simply three video games, returning in 2019 and making a Super Bowl look with the 49ers that season, dropping to the Chiefs. 

Garoppolo’s future in San Francisco is a bit foggy at the second, with the group deciding on quarterback Trey Lance with the No. 3 general decide int he 2021 NFL Draft, however when wholesome, he is been a wonderfully serviceable quarterback for the 49ers.

But of all of Brady’s backups drafted to “replace” him, or simply be, effectively, a backup, Garoppolo has proven the most promise and really lived by way of on the potential. 

Even if Brady might or might not assume he is a “mother f—er.”



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