Patriots to Trade Mac Jones

It’s a disappointing end to what started as a promising rookie season for Jones, as he led the Patriots back to the playoffs and was called up to play in the Pro Bowl. Jones threw for 3,801 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his first season, but saw declines in each of the following two seasons following the departure of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Jones regressed under a group approach in 2022 led by Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, throwing just 14 touchdowns though lowering his interception total to 11. The Patriots missed the playoffs, with Jones going 6-8 as a starter, missing three games due to an ankle injury suffered in a competitive back-and-forth contest against Baltimore.

In 2023, the Patriots brought in established offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, yet the staff adjustments could not prevent a continued decline by the offense. Mac went 2-9 as a starter, eventually being benched for the team’s final six games for backup Bailey Zappe. The Patriots finished 31st in points, 30th in yards and 29th in DVOA.

The move should be a welcome one for Jones, as he grew up in Jacksonville area and starred at the Bolles School under legendary Florida head coach Corky Rogers. That should help allow for a smooth transition, with Jones getting a fresh start in a familiar place. Now, he’ll look to reset as a backup behind the quarterback selected first overall in the same draft class, Trevor Lawrence.

The Patriots will be left for the time being with Zappe and Nathan Rourke on their quarterback depth chart, but plenty of interesting options will be available in Free Agency. On Monday, the tampering period will begin, allowing teams to begin putting deals in place. Bridge quarterback possibilities like Jacoby Brissett and Gardner Minshew could garner consideration while starting options like Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield could be options in the team chooses to go in a different direction.

With most mock drafts vacillating between UNC’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels for the Pats, most foresee that New England will use their third overall pick to replace what they had hoped to find in Jones, a long-term impact starter at the most important position in the game.

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