By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — In recent weeks, you’ve likely heard a number of whispers and a lot of speculation about the Patriots’ quarterback situation. From Cam Newton returning, to Marcus Mariota hopping aboard, to crafty trades for Sam Darnold being engineered, to Jimmy Garoppolo fantasies, the stories have been flowing fast and furiously.

That may be because most (or all) of them have legs.

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That’s according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, who reported Monday that the Patriots have essentially been gathering intel on just about any quarterback who might be an option for New England this year. Whether that’s through free agency, the draft, or trade, the Patriots are not yet settled on any one option under center.

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“If a quarterback has been perceived to be available, the Patriots have picked up the phone,” Howe said.

Howe noted — as others have recently — that the Patriots “have not ruled out” the possibility of re-signing Newton, but no decision has been made either way. For the moment, with prices sky-high after the Matthew Stafford/Jared Goff swap and the Carson Went trade to Indy, the Patriots remain in information-gathering mode.

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“Until there’s a market correction, the Patriots are being diligent,” Howe said. “They’re working to upgrade the position, but they haven’t yet reached the point of overspending on a quarterback, instead preferring to wait for prices to normalize.”

CBSBoston.com Staff