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Patriots Were the Reason Jaguars Needed Another Quarterback in Jones Trade

The Patriots were the reason the Jaguars needed to trade for Jones.

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
March 11, 2024 at 4:56 pm ET

Patriots Were the Reason Jaguars Needed Another Quarterback in Jones Trade(PHOTO: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 3 minutes

Sunday’s trade is an interesting situation because the Jaguars acquired Jones due to the fact they didn’t feel like they had a viable backup on their roster.  Current backup C.J. Beathard remains reportedly banged up coming off last season, and there appear to be questions regarding his health.  That left Jacksonville in need of trying to put a higher-quality player behind starter Trevor Lawrence, who missed time last season.

However, New England actually stole the Jaguars’ top quarterback prospect in December when Jacksonville waived former CFL QB Nathan Rourke in an attempt to put him on their practice squad.  The Patriots instead put in a claim for him, with Rourke working his way up the depth chart by the end of the season, ending up as the backup ahead of Jones in the final game of 2023.

Prior to the start of last season, Rourke had put together a pretty good resume ahead of his first year in the NFL.  He had a solid preseason, finishing 23-of-35 for 348-yards including a touchdown, with Rourke finishing as the only Jaguars QB without an interception in the preseason.

His lone touchdown pass was also certainly memorable, with Rourke breaking tackles and escaping from four defenders while still having one player having him wrapped up as he fired a strike downfield against Dallas for a 21-yard touchdown.   He also showed some speed, running another in from four yards out.

Rourke, who was among the top CFL quarterbacks and left last offseason to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL, spoke with British Columbia’s Donnie and Dhali in an interview back in January to talk about his journey and his first season in the league.

Nathan Rourke

(PHOTO: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

He was asked if he gained some confidence in his first season, and Rourke said it was a learning experience and he’s looking forward to see where it takes him.

“I definitely think I did,” said Rourke.  “I mean there’s certainly some things, obviously there’s some limitations that you’re not getting in and playing as much as other guys.  But I certainly didn’t let that stop me.  I was trying to improve really everything I could during practice, after hours, trying to get better and I feel a lot better than I did at that the beginning of the year.”

“I’m looking forward to that opportunity.  I think one of these things I took away from this season is I definitely can play in this league.  I think I can have success in this league and that confidence just coming from the preseason but also just kind of what happened around the league.  I feel like that’s kind of building in me, and I’m looking forward to getting after it next season, whatever that looks like.”

Overall, he’s a player who is missed back in Canada and while they’re wishing him the best, he’s a player who was coming off of one of his best seasons.  He was 8-1 as a starter in 2022, including leading the league with 3,281 passing yards, as well as leading the CFL with 25 touchdowns.

He suffered a foot injury that season which required surgery, but Rourke eventually ended up coming back and won the regular season finale, although his club lost its playoff game that season.  Rourke ended up being named the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian, essentially the equivalent of the NFL’s MVP.

For now, he’s focused on “paying his dues,” with Rourke working hard to build off his first year in the league.  The Patriots also recently picked up his exclusive rights tender, which will allow him to continue his NFL journey here in New England – wherever it leads – in the coming months.

Oddly enough for both Jones and Rourke, a trip to Jacksonville is on New England’s schedule in 2024.

(Editor’s Note: The above appeared in a recent daily Patriots notebook column.)

Patriots Lock Up a Key Piece, Extend Onwenu

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: Mac Jones Nathan Rourke

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