- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady is still going strong for the New England Patriots. Brady, 35, threw for 4,827 yards, 34 touchdowns and just eight interceptions this past season. He says his goal is to play until he's 40, and barring injury Brady should at least come close.
This also means New England won't need another full-time starting quarterback for the next few seasons. Therefore, should the Patriots consider trading young backup Ryan Mallett?
The 2011 third-round pick has a strong arm and lot of potential. There have been reports that quarterback-needy teams might show interest in Mallett this offseason. The Cleveland Browns, for example, have been linked to Mallett based on the hire of new vice president of personnel Mike Lombardi. He has strong ties to his mentor, Bill Belichick, and Lombardi said in the past that Mallett was the best quarterback in the 2011 draft.
Another reason New England could trade Mallett is its shortage of draft picks. The Patriots have just five picks in April after trading away picks in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. Trading Mallett could fill some of those holes in New England’s draft class.
The Patriots are in the driver's seat. It's not a must that they trade Mallett. But Brady's elite play affords New England the flexibility if another team falls in love with Mallett. New England has plenty of time to groom another prospect at quarterback.