New England Patriots

Patriots work out local QB amid search for Will Grier's replacement

The Patriots could use extra depth at one of their weakest positions.

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The quarterback carousel continues to spin in New England.

After waiving Will Grier on Saturday, the Patriots hosted five free agents for workouts Monday -- one of which was a quarterback. Former Purdue signal-caller Austin Burton was in Foxboro on Monday in addition to UCLA tight end Michael Ezeike, Western Carolina defensive back Cameron McCutcheon, Iowa State tight end La'Michael Pettway and Bowling Green tight end Christian Sims, per the NFL transaction wire.

Burton has strong local ties; he's the son of WBZ-TV Sports Director Steve Burton and the grandson of Ron Burton, who was the Boston Patriots' first-ever draft pick in 1960. Austin Burton grew up in Newton, Mass., and starred at Newton South High School from 2013 to 2015 before transferring to West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Fla., for his senior season.

Burton spent three seasons at UCLA before transferring to Purdue in 2020 and appeared in 19 total games over six seasons in college, throwing for 682 yards with four touchdown passes and two interceptions.

The Patriots could use an extra QB after releasing Grier, who cleared waivers on Monday and is expected to pursue other opportunities instead of re-signing with New England's practice squad, MassLive's Chris Mason reports.

Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe are the only QBs on the active roster, and the team's only practice-squad quarterback, Malik Cunningham, has played just six NFL snaps while also spending time at wide receiver.

The Patriots have cycled through a host of mediocre QBs this season, from Trace McSorley to Ian Book to Matt Corral to Grier. Picking up a free agent would give them necessary depth, but they clearly need to overhaul the position in 2024 based on the results we've seen in 2023.

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