Six New England Patriots have signed out for the 2020 season, a list of Dont’a Hightower, Marcus Cannon, Patrick Chung, Danny Vitale, Najee Toran and Brandon Bolden.
After those decisions, Trevor Lawrence started trending on Twitter, and the correlation with Patriots coach Bill Belichick is just as scripted as the memes that followed:
Belichick refuels the 2020 NFL season in an effort to get the star Clemson quarterback as part of a demonic scheme to get the No. 1 pick. In the 2021 NFL Draft? An anonymous NFL manager asked ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday in response to news of the Patriots’ six opt-outs, by far the most in the NFL to date.
But the answer is a loud no. Here are all the reasons why:
MORE: Full List of NFL Players Opting Out of the 2020 Season
This is about COVID-19
Hightower is the most notable NFL player opting out of COVID-19, and those motivations are health-related. NFL.com reported Hightower became a first father on July 16 and his mother has type 2 diabetes. It is ridiculous to suggest that Hightower would voluntarily sit for a full season and receive a voluntary opt-out salary of $ 150,000.
Hightower would earn a base salary of $ 8 million this season. The players who opt out are doing it because the United States is facing a pandemic that has resulted in more than 150,000 deaths in the United States.
However, the tank-for-Trevor theories involving the patriots started well before those opt-out occurred. We can also disprove that.
There was a break with Tom Brady
Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Buccaneers in the low season; which meant the end of a 20-year career with Belichick in New England.
While this is the dominant headline of the low season, it is not a new trend. Brady turns 43 in August and other Hall of Fame quarterbacks, such as Joe Montana and Brett Favre, have ended their careers with other teams.
The difference with the two is that the 49ers and Packers had clear successors in Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers, respectively. New England had Jarrett Stidham as the top-ranked quarterback on the depth chart when Brady fled.
However, if the patriots were refueling, they wouldn’t have signed a former NFL MVP with quarterback off-season.
MORE: A Timeline of Patriots Scandals Under Bill Belichick
Cam Newton suits Pats
New England signed Newton on June 29 for a one-year deal, a move that improved the Patriots’ Super Bowl odds.
Newton, who was the NFL MVP in 2015, is trying to revive his career after nine seasons in Carolina. Newton is a dynamic talent when he is healthy, and chances are he will win the runway in week 1.
Newton may not be a six-time Super Bowl winner, but he was able to prove himself with a one-year deal and work on an extension with New England.
That would give Belichick more time to pick the Patriots’ next franchise quarterback. Believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be Lawrence.
Trevor Lawrence is not the only QB franchise in the 2021 NFL Draft
Lawrence has been a favorite of the Tigers in the 2021 NFL Draft since his freshman season with the Tigers, and his resume speaks for itself. He has been 25-1 in the last two seasons as a starter and has led Clemson to back-to-back appearances in the College Football Playoff Championship game.
Lawrence is widely regarded as a generation talent in the form of John Elway, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck – all number 1 in the NFL Draft.
However, there are other potential franchise quarterbacks in the concept. Justin Fields, Ohio is a recurring Heisman Trophy finalist who knocked out Lawrence at the Elite 11 Passing Academy when both were in high school. North Dakota State’s Trey Lance is another potential first-round pick, and both quarterbacks have the potential to start in the NFL long-term.
Keep in mind that Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa was considered the front runner as the No. 1 pick in 2020, and LSU’s Joe Burrow changed that by putting together one of the best seasons in college football history. There is room for surprises for the coming season – if there are any.
NFL COACH RATINGS:
Has Bill Belichick’s reign at number 1 ended?
The patriots’ record
What if the patriots went 1-15 in 2020? This is a franchise that has won at least 10 games in 17 consecutive seasons. The patriots were 12-4 in 2019.
Only two teams in NFL history – the Houston Oilers 1993-94 and the Texas Texans 2012-13 – have endured a 10-game drop in earnings from one season to the next. If New England experienced such a drop-off, the conspiracy theories about tanking would be off the charts.
This is a franchise already notorious for the Spygate and Deflategate scandals. New England lost a concept choice last season for a video recording incident involving the sidelines of Cincinnati Bengals.
It would be too obvious if the patriots had such a drop, and there is no guarantee they would have the worst record in the NFL.
Besides, does Belichick stand out to you as a coach who would like to lose intentionally?
Bill Belichick does not lose
Simply put, it is not Belichick’s nature to lose. He has 273 wins in the regular season; that’s the third most common in NFL history behind Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318). Belichick, 68, has been the head coach for over 25 seasons.
This is the same coach who led the Patriots to 11 wins with Matt Cassel in 2008 when Brady was lost with a knee injury at the end of the season. New England also went 3-1 with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett while Brady served his four-game suspension for Deflategate in 2016.
Now, in a year when Brady is in Tampa Bay, there is more than ever an incentive for Belichick to win without his quarterback.
If that’s not enough, consider Belichick’s concept history. The Patriots have made nine first-round choices since 2010 – and the highest concept choice was Nate Solder at number 17 in 2011. Now if you want to talk about a package deal with concept choices to get the number 1 choice and get Lawrence on that way?
That makes a lot more sense than refueling.
Anyting otherwise is just wild speculation.