Free Agent Focus: Quarterbacks

Because the Patriots are very unlikely to sign a free agent quarterback with Tom Brady at the helm and Brian Hoyer on the roster, this column will take a closer look at New England’s options at quarterback if they opt to trade Hoyer after the lockout. Later this week, Foxboro Blog will look at the possibility that Hoyer will be traded, the value the Patriots would expect to receive in return and his prospects as a starter in the NFL.
 
Bruce Gradkowski (OAK)
Gradkowski played well when he has had opportunities, and he often gives his team a chance to win. If the Raiders let him walk, his experience and resume could give him a shot at a starting gig for another team. If he doesn’t fit in as a starter anywhere, he should end up as one of the league’s most reliable backups. 
 
Matt Moore (CAR)
Moore is one of the more seasoned free agent options at quarterbacks, but his ceiling is considered rather low for a starter. Moore was miles better in 2009 than he was in 2010. It remains to be seen whether the league has figured him out or if the talent around him was insufficient. Either way, he would come relatively cheap and would seem to fit in well in New England.
 
Tyler Thigpen (MIA)
Thigpen has very good athleticism and has not been a serious liability when he’s been asked to step under center. While it would probably take him some time to grasp New England’s system, he could likely step into the game in a pinch.
 
Matt Leinart (HOU)
Feel free to insert your hot tub jokes here. A good portion of Leinart’s problems have been related to his attitude and work ethic, and I’m pretty sure the New England coaching staff would beat those problems out of him in the first three weeks. If he can get his head and attitude straightened out, he’d make an intriguing option to back up Brady.
 
Troy Smith (SF)
The former Heisman winner has plenty of warts that have kept him on the sidelines, but it is possible he could improve with the right coaching and with enough talent around him. He struggled in San Francisco last season, but he showed a reasonable level of competence when he had more tools to work with in Baltimore.
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