The New England Patriots are in the middle of a franchise-altering offseason in more ways than one. Not only have they changed head coaches for the first time in a quarter century — moving from Bill Belichick to Jerod Mayo — they also will have a decision to make about the future of their quarterback position.
It seems that former first-round investment Mac Jones will not be part of that process, though. According to a report by NFL Network, the 25-year-old is a realistic candidate to get traded this offseason.
And not just that: Jones leaving the Patriots after three seasons is considered “likely” at this point in time:
The Patriots own the No. 3 overall pick, and all indications are they’ll seriously explore taking one of the draft’s top QBs as they move into the Jerod Mayo era. ... Even though Bill Belichick is gone, former first-round pick Mac Jones — who lost the starting role and ended up third string by the end of the 2023 season — is a trade candidate in the coming weeks and most likely will end up elsewhere for the 2024 season.
Jones arrived in New England as the 15th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Alabama product showed considerable promise out of the gate, leading the team to a 10-7 record and spot in the playoff, but has struggled in back-to-back years now.
Jones failed to build on his encouraging rookie campaign in 2022, struggling to adapt to changes in personnel around him and, seemingly, to defenses having more tape on him. His issues did not only continue last season but actually culminated in him getting benched four times in favor of backup Bailey Zappe, and eventually losing the starting job.
By the time Jones was benched for good at halftime in Week 12, he had completed 224 of 345 throws (64.9%) for 2,120 yards, 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Playing behind a makeshift offensive line and with a subpar group of pass catchers contributed to his issues, but he continued to make rookie-level mistakes and head-scratching decisions that ended up costing the Patriots games — and Jones his job.
It appears, for good: Jones getting traded this offseason would put an end to what has ultimately become a disappointing tenure in New England.
The expectation is that the Patriots, who are slated to pick third overall after their 4-13 season, will closely look at a quarterback near the top of the NFL Draft and possible in free agency as well.