• Pats unload Kessler, possibly targeting free agent QB
  • Pats may revisit players like Cam Newton and Andy Dalton
  • Pats could check out available QBs at the 2020 NFL Draft

The New England Patriots have released Cody Kessler, a move that sends off mixed signals. They are now left with Jarret Stidham and returning Pats player Brian Hoyer, lean options at the play-calling position which could be boosted if Bill Belichick is prowling for another quarterback in the free-agent market.

Word of Kessler's release comes from Pro Football Talk. And while it may not matter much, the move does raise some eyebrows. Since the departure of Tom Brady, critics were under the impression that the Pats would be targeting one of the top free-agent quarterbacks available. Among the names that come to mind are Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, and Jameis Winston. However, the past weeks have suggested that neither is on the radar of New England.

Newton and Dalton are sensible targets to take over but the Pats have reportedly no interest in either player, The Athletic reported. Jameis Winston is likewise someone that Pats are allegedly not keen on signing per This even though Winston has a playing style fairly similar to Brady. Ironically, Winston was formerly with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - the same team which Brady is now with.

Of course, all these are rumors and the Patriots could reach the point where they would change their strategy. And with the coronavirus situation, New England has the luxury of time to weigh things out. Newton could be worth revisiting, someone who benefits from the lull. Foot problems have plagued the former NFL MVP and the respite may allow him to heal better.

Like other teams, the Patriots could be among the ones eager to see what Newton's latest medical report would show. But even if he is cleared, there is the fact that the 31-year-old play-caller has a forgettable history of keeping himself healthy.

If not among the veterans, the Patriots could try their luck at the 2020 NFL Draft. New England owns the rights to the 23rd selection, meaning it would be impossible for them to get the top three quarterbacks available in the draft. These are Joe Burrow, Tau Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert.

The Patriots could make a move after the 2020 NFL Draft. For now, the focus is on Stidham and Hoyer for the coming NFL season. But the Kessler release hints that the Pats quarterback issues could be in for some surprises soon.

Cody Kessler Cleveland Browns
Cody Kessler throws a pass against the Dallas Cowboys at FirstEnergy Stadium Nov 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Reuters/Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports