New England Patriots head coach and general manager Bill Belichick could still move quarterback Mac Jones this offseason.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported as such during the NFL Draft last week. That’s despite the Patriots’ attempt to deflect Jones trade rumors before the draft.
“I got a call from a general manager today asking me what was going on with Mac Jones — from another team,” Breer said on NBC’s “Boston Sports Tonight” on April 27. “So, it’s floating around the league right now that, like, something weird is happening here, and that if you need a quarterback, call. And this was a team that could’ve taken a quarterback [in Round 1] but didn’t.”
High-end quarterback prospect Will Levis, a former Kentucky star, slid through the first down despite top-pick hype. The Tennessee Titans ultimately took him in the second round.
“And there are a lot of teams that are sort of in that wheelhouse. … There were teams that were looking at quarterbacks [in the draft] that were like, ‘Alright, if this guy’s debatable, that guy’s debatable, maybe we look at some sort of Plan B on the veteran market after the draft’. And Mac was actually a guy that I got a call on,” Breer added.
Mac Jones’ Status Remained in Doubt Before Draft
Jones, a former No. 15 pick by the Patriots, became the subject of trade rumors this offseason after a subpar performance in 2022. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio previously reported that Belichick “shopped” Jones to four different teams, and rumors of “parameters of a trade in place” surfaced via Reddit, which 98.5 The Sports Hub examined, the day before the draft.
Belichick previously said “everyone will get a chance to play” at the NFL annual meeting in regards to the Patriots quarterback battle, which included upstart second-year signal caller Bailey Zappe. Belichick clarified his stance on Jones during the draft.
“Yeah, I mean, look, Mac’s been our quarterback for two years,” Belichick told reporters on April 28. “As I tell the team every year, each player, each coach, we all have to re-establish and prove ourselves every year. That’s what this league is. That’s for all of us — ’23 is ’23. We’ll see how ’23 goes.”
Patriots Quarterback Competition Still Looks Open
Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien didn’t dismiss Jones’ chances of starting either during a draft press conference. However, O’Brien didn’t rule out Zappe either.
“You know, Mac Jones, he’s worked really really hard this offseason,” O’Brien told reporters on April 28. “Been here every day. We just started working last week … and that’s been good. A lot of good meetings. A lot of good give and take.”
“Bailey Zappe, same thing,” O’Brien added. “Really, working very hard. Good guys. Really good guys that care about the team, care about winning, care about doing what’s best for the team, which has always been the mantra here. And those guys have really done a good job of that.”
The Patriots added two other quarterbacks this offseason — Trace McSorley and Malik Cunningham — for depth. Cunningham, however, could switch positions after a promising college career at Louisville.