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According to Mike Petraglia of WEEI Ryan Mallett will get plenty of snaps during this final preseason under his rookie deal:
Bill Belichick said the much-talked about back-up quarterback will get his chance to shine in the preseason, a role he has grown accustomed to in his first three seasons in New England, simply because the quarterback ahead of him almost never misses a regular season snap.
Petraglia also notes some praise from Belichick directed at the backup signal caller Mallett:
“I think Ryan has been solid for us all year,” Belichick said. “He had a good, I thought he got off to a decent start in the spring and then he missed the last week, the last three or four practices, whatever it was, but that really hasn't affected him now. He’s come back and done everything, done very well. Like everybody out there every player, some plays are better than others.”
Now I don't doubt for one second that Belichick likes Mallett, but what I do question is the intent behind the coach's comments and actions. If Mallett is looking so great, why would he need to take a lion's share come the preseason games? Wouldn't the long term play be to give Jimmy Garoppolo extended snaps so he can continue to develop into the backup he seems destined to be next season? That tells me that Belichick would be making this move for the here and now, and that leaves only one possibility.
The preseason is clearly codenamed Operation trade Mallett. Between the positive buzz of Belichick, the praise from Mike Mayock (on a pretty bad day for Mallett), and the extended play in preseason, there is no doubt that the Patriots are hitting the media pavement to raise Mallett's value.
When e-mailing with some of the other contributors, we all chatted about how unlikely it would be to have the team enter the year without all 3 QBs. Since then, I've actually changed my view, I now think it's unlikely that they hold on to Mallett. Now they'd never outright release him, as he would be a vast improvement over Garoppolo if Brady went down. While that's true, there's no way they win anything with Mallett as the man under center. If Mallett can't get the job done this year, and will be gone next year, why wouldn't they try to get some assets in return? How would Mallett losing games if Brady goes down be better than giving Garoppolo the chance to develop in game action? Trading Mallett is clearly the intention, nothing else makes sense and Bill Belichick knows it.
If we trade Mallett, what do you think we could get? What would you want? Let's chat @TheFib0624