While the Newton/Jones battle will draw the most attention, it’s not the only one among the quarterbacks. Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are likely competing for the third quarterback spot, and heading into camp it feels like a toss up. 

Of course, Stidham offers both youth and upside. Even though Mac Jones is the Patriots’ future right now, they’ll still need a backup going forwards with Newton and Hoyer on one-year contracts. Plus, if Jones is slow to develop, he gives them another young QB to work with. 

It’s been just two years since the Patriots used a fourth-round pick on Stidham. He showed some flashes of ability in minimal action last year, and it may have been enough to convince the team it’s too soon to give up on their investment.  

That’s not to say Hoyer doesn’t offer his advantages. Namely, he’s an ideal mentor for Mac Jones, and anything that helps Jones become a better player in the long run should ultimately be viewed as a primary option, even if it may be less advantageous in the short term. 

Of course, there’s the possibility the Patriots keep just two quarterbacks. However, that could prove to be costly, especially when it comes to Jones’ development. If Stidham or Hoyer are not on the roster to run the scout team, the responsibility will initially fall on Jones, assuming Newton is named the Week 1 starter. If Jones is busy trying to mimic other teams’ playbooks and other quarterbacks’ styles, he’ll have less time to focus on his own development. That could be prevented by adding a quarterback to the practice squad, but both Stidham and Hoyer bring a chemistry element an outside QB wouldn’t. 

Stidham opening camp on PUP means we may have to wait for this battle to really get going. But once he’s back, remember to watch all four quarterbacks, not just the top two.