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Trade Patriots QB Mac Jones? “That would happen over Robert Kraft’s dead body”

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
February 23, 2023 at 10:32 am ET

Trade Patriots QB Mac Jones? “That would happen over Robert Kraft’s dead body”(PHOTO: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 4 minutes

While there have been rumors about the Patriots potentially moving on from quarterback Mac Jones this offseason, it sounds like the New England Patriots won’t have that option on the table.

NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran appeared on the Rich Eisen show on Wednesday and talked about a variety of topics, most notably about Jones’s future after Eisen asked whether or not the Patriots might be part of the quarterback carousel this offseason.

“Great question. Absolutely, positively not,” said Curran. “That would happen over Robert Kraft’s dead body. We’ll talk about that in 2024 if it’s another mediocre season, but this notion that the Patriots would move on from Mac Jones after last July at the outset of training camp when Bill Belichick talked about Mac Jones making a drastic improvement from an already highly impressive rookie year, if they now want to move on from him and his $4.36 million salary, or whatever it is, because of what happened in 2022?  Well, who’s holding the smoking gun for what happened?  The coach.  The decisions.”

Curran went on to add that if Kraft questioned the reasoning behind it, especially considering Jones’s $4 million salary and the reasons behind his regression in 2022 after his solid rookie year, he feels that Belichick would have to admit, “we did nothing to help him,” which would then make it a tough case for Kraft to allow Belichick to just move him.

The question likely stemmed from a previous report by MMQB writer Albert Breer, who recently said he believed that there was some frustration internally with Belichick about Jones’s outbursts last season.

Breer had said last week via NBC Sports Boston on an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand that he believes the public showings by Jones against the coaching staff last season was something Belichick wasn’t pleased with and that it was possible they could potentially explore their options.

“I don’t think Bill appreciated the way that Mac handled some of the stuff last year,” said Breer. “There’s a way that I think Bill thinks a franchise quarterback should conduct himself. And for the most part, (Tom) Brady did conduct himself that way. I think there were certain things in the way that Mac handled his second year as a pro that Bill didn’t appreciate.”

2022 was a tough year for Mac Jones. (PHOTO: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

Breer also said that he’s heard the team apparently doesn’t see a huge gap between both Jones and backup quarterback Bailey Zappe, which is the reason moving on from Jones would be something he felt they might be willing to consider.

“I think they would,” Breer said. “Internally, I don’t know if they see this massive gap between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. I’m not saying they think Bailey’s as good as Mac, but there was some element of Bailey doing what he was coached to do last year that I think gave Bailey the edge to some degree for a little while there.

“So I think it’ll be interesting to see what would happen if a real offer came along. I don’t think a real offer is going to come along, but it’d be interesting to see what would happen if a real offer did come along.”

Right now, they also have a good reason to stay with Jones.  The soon-to-be third-year quarterback is heading into a key season where he’ll need to prove himself worthy enough for New England to pick up his fifth-year option heading into 2024.  How he performs this year will likely be the deciding factor.

Moving on from Jones also doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense given the uncertainty on their depth chart.  Zappe played well during his relief appearances this season, but he left enough doubt after the Chicago game where it’s clear he’s still got some work to do.  From there, Brian Hoyer lasted barely 10 minutes against Green Bay before he went down with a concussion, which kept him out of action for the rest of the season.

So moving Jones would potentially leave New England with Zappe and Hoyer, with Hoyer’s future seemingly in doubt after the concussion he sustained in 2022. It would leave them without any real depth, and putting all their eggs in Zappe’s basket feels like a risky proposition since if he were to go down, they’d clearly be in serious trouble.

Taking a step back would also make it difficult to get them back in the postseason hunt next season. Considering how competitive things are within the Division and the Conference, it’s already a difficult road.  New England still currently faces the prospect of battling both Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa twice per season, neither of which they’ve had much luck against.  They may even see David Carr or even Lamar Jackson added to the mix if the Jets stick to their guns with the rumored possiblity of the club acquiring one of those two this offseason.

As a result, you can’t beat good teams without a quality starting quarterback, and they need to try and see things through with Jones before possibly making a change.

Eisen asked if Curran believed free agent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could be a factor, and he believes Garoppolo’s agent should at least explore the option.

“I think you take the shot anyway if you’re Don Yee, and I think he remains Jimmy’s agent,” said Curran. “Because Bailey Zappe has shown himself to be a capable 10-and-2, I can start a couple of games and not ruin things for you, quarterback.  He did it in portions of four games, two wins, so you know you have that.  But do you have the veteran?  Brian Hoyer is still under contract, but more and more in the cameos we’ve seen from him, he’s either been a little bit injury prone or a little bit scattered, even though I think he could still be a capable backup quarterback, he’s almost 38.”

With the addition of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, the Patriots have already taken steps to fix two key issues that plagued them last season.  O’Brien also has an edge having worked at Alabama where many of the concepts they’ll likely discuss will potentially be ones Jones is familiar and comfortable with.  O’Brien will likely also fix the play design issues, the route running of the receivers, and the timing, which were also apparent on film in 2022.

At the end of the day, at least for now, Jones certainly gives them the best chance to win there.  It’s possible Zappe could surprise people and get stronger this offseason and make things interesting this summer, but regardless, it makes more sense to have both players in camp and not close the book on Jones just yet.

New England Patriots News 02—26, Building For 2023

About Ian Logue

Ian Logue is a Seacoast native and owner and senior writer for, an independent media site covering the New England Patriots and has been running this site in one form or another since 1997.

Tags: 2023 Patriots Offseason Bailey Zappe Bill Belichick Jimmy Garoppolo Mac Jones NFL Robert Kraft

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