Zolak & Bertrand

How the NFL views Patriots' draft strategy after Brissett addition

'The league would tell you ... They're taking a quarterback at No. 3.'

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Did the New England Patriots just tip their hand about how they'll approach the 2024 NFL Draft?

The Patriots reportedly agreed to a one-year, $8 million contract with free agent Jacoby Brissett on Monday, reuniting with the quarterback they drafted in 2016. The 31-year-old primarily has served as a backup or "bridge" QB over eight NFL seasons, and his contract suggests the Patriots didn't bring him in to be their QB1.

The obvious question then becomes, where will the Patriots find their QB1? And one logical answer is the NFL Draft -- particularly the No. 3 overall pick.

As our Patriots Insider Phil Perry noted Tuesday on 98.5 The Sports Hub's 98.5 The Sports Hub, people in NFL circles view the Brissett signing as an indication that New England will draft one of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels at No. 3.

"There is a plan here, and I think it is indicative of the fact that they are very likely to take a quarterback at No. 3 overall," Perry said, as seen in the video above. "That's what the league would tell you, just talking to people (Monday) night. The league would tell you, 'Oh, well, they signed Jacoby Brissett to a backup contract. It's a backup deal, right? One year, $8 million. They're taking a quarterback at No. 3.'

"It's a strong quarterback draft. (Patriots head of personnel) Eliot Wolf himself has told us it's a strong quarterback draft; (Patriots senior personnel advisor) Pat Stewart, on the record with the team's website: 'It's a strong quarterback draft.'"

The Patriots are guaranteed one of Williams, Maye or Daniels at No. 3, so if they view all three QBs favorably, then they should absolutely jump at the chance to have a potential franchise quarterback on a rookie contract for the next four years. Brissett would be an ideal veteran pairing for that rookie; one of Brissett's former coaches told Perry the QB is a "great locker room guy" who "speaks his mind and knows what it is supposed to look like."

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But Perry believes the Patriots themselves are wary of giving off the impression they're dead-set on taking a QB at No. 3.

"I think what they would tell you is, 'We're not locked into that pick just yet and taking a quarterback,'" Perry added.

"But there's three good quarterbacks in this year's draft and they have the third overall pick. I think this is a pretty good sign that they're at least leaning in that direction."

The draft is more than a month away, so New England should keep all of its options open. Maybe the Patriots are impressed enough with J.J. McCarthy, Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr. that they're willing to trade down from No. 3 and use a late-round pick on a QB.

Barring any notable developments, however, a QB at No. 3 seems like the play for Wolf and Co.

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