Patriots add Kessler to their quarterback room
In a mild surprise, the New England Patriots added a third quarterback to their roster, signing veteran Cody Kessler on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old Kessler has started 12 of the 17 games he’s appeared in in three years after being taken in the third round of the 2016 draft by the Cleveland Browns out of USC. One of his starts in his rookie season was made against New England during which he completed 5 of 8 passes for 62 yards and a touchdown.
He appeared in five games, four of them starts, with Jacksonville last year in a back-and-forth at times with Blake Bortles. Kessler was then released in the spring after the Jags signed Nick Foles and hooked on with Philadelphia, but was released at the end of the preseason.
For his career, Kessler has completed 224 of 349 passes for 2,215 yards, eight TDs and five interceptions.
Kessler takes the roster spot of fullback James Devlin, who was placed on injured reserve. The Patriots had gone with two quarterbacks since they released veteran Brian Hoyer at the end of the preseason. Hoyer then signed a deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
Speculation is that the Patriots wanted to add a quarterback to their roster to take some of the pressure off rookie backup Jarret Stidham, who threw a pick six in the 30-14 win over the Jets this past Sunday. Also, with Tom Brady being limited in practice a week ago with a sore calf – and if the Patriots manage Brady’s practice time down the road – a third quarterback to run the scout team might be necessary.
Belichick said Wednesday, before the signing became official, that adding a third quarterback “would be more roster management” and not done to limit Brady’s work.
As for Stidham, he gave the rookie a vote of confidence.
“Jarrett’s been with us all the way through, he has practiced every day,” Belichick said. “He’s gotten intermittently a lot of reps in the offense depending on the situation from week to week, the preseason, the regular season.
“Again, depending on what we’re doing at that particular point in time whether it be preseason games or training camp practices or regular season practices. Yeah, he’s come along well.”