Patriots looking to trade Mac Jones, add next franchise QB in 2024 NFL Draft: report

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Like Bill Belichick, it seems that the New England Patriots are also looking to move on from their quarterback, Mac Jones.

The Patriots are ushering in a new era of football after Belichick’s departure, and with Jerod Mayo in as head coach, New England is expected to trade Jones this offseason with eyes set on their top pick, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

New England owns the third overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, and this year’s prospect class is quarterback heavy. Many believe that several quarterbacks taken in the Draft will be franchise signal callers for years to come.

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Mac Jones is looking to cast

Mac Jones of the New England Patriots attempts a pass against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 26, 2023, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Considering Jones was benched multiple times in back-to-back seasons with Belichick on the sidelines, his status as the team’s franchise quarterback was in limbo. He ended up becoming the team’s third string quarterback near the end of the 2023 season, a year where he continued to bounce back.

“Even though Bill Belichick is gone, Mac Jones — who lost the starting job and ended up third-string through the end of the 2023 season — is a trade candidate in the coming weeks and may be elsewhere for a season 2024,” he said. Rapoport wrote Sunday. “… There is every indication that they will take a serious look at taking one of the top picks in the draft [quarterbacks] as they move into the Jerod Mayo era.”

The top quarterbacks for many talent evaluators in this year’s draft appear to be USC’s Caleb Williams, UNC’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels. JJ McCarthy of Michigan, who is leaving the national tournament, is also debating for the first round.

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Williams appears to be the front-runner to go first overall, currently held by the Chicago Bears. The Washington Commanders, who are expected to be in the quarterback market as well, will pick second before the Patriots go on the clock.

Either way, the Patriots will have the option to take one of the “Big Three” on the draft board.

Jones was Alabama’s first-round pick in 2021, going 15th overall to Belichick’s delight, and everything started off on the right foot. He helped lead the Patriots to a playoff appearance in his rookie year, throwing for 3,801 yards with 22 touchdowns to 13 interceptions and a 10-7 record during the regular season.

New England ended up losing that playoff game to the Buffalo Bills, but after Patriots legend Tom Brady left, the New England area believed Jones could be their next franchise quarterback who could continue to thrive under Belichick .

But that turned sour in 2022 when Jones saw a major rebound, going for just 14 touchdowns to 11 interceptions and going 6-8 over 14 games.

Mac Jones in Germany

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones drops a pass against the Indianapolis Colts in Frankfurt, Germany, on Nov. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Belichick’s jump on Jones became clear in Week 7 of that season, when Jones was shut down after a terrible half against the Chicago Bears. Bailey Zappe, who led the Patriots to two straight wins in previous weeks, replaced Jones at halftime.

However, Jones started every game for New England the rest of the 2022 season. However, 2023 saw an even worse overall performance by Jones and the entire Patriots offense.

He went 2-9 as a starter, throwing 10 passing touchdowns to 12 interceptions over 11 starts. Belichick pulled the plug on Jones after a Week 12 loss to the New York Giants, where he was mountain at halftime in a 10-7 road loss.

Jones will not play the rest of the year.

“I’m looking forward to the next opportunity,” Jones said after his third NFL season. “I know it’s going to come, but at the end of the day, as a quarterback and a competitor, you have to be ready, right? So I’ll be ready.”

Mac Jones looking down

Mac Jones of the New England Patriots during the New York Giants game at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 26, 2023, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Elsa/Getty Images)

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Jones said he loves New England, but his future appears to be moving elsewhere as the Patriots will see if they can find a trade before entering the Draft in April.

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