3 Most Likely Mac Jones Trade Destinations Entering Free Agency

Dec 7, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) warms
Dec 7, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) warms / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Mac Jones has assuredly played his last game as a New England Patriot. The team's 15th overall pick in 2021, the 25-year-old once appeared destined to be New England's franchise quarterback of the future before the last two seasons left many wondering if he even had a future in the league.

Per an NFL.com insiders report on Feb. 11, Jones is "a trade candidate in the coming weeks and most likely will end up elsewhere for the 2024 season." More recent reporting has revealed what New England might be able to garner for a return. Three front office executives polled believe that Jones could return a fifth-round pick to the Patriots, while another executive was harsher in his assessment, believing that New England "might be lucky" to even get a sixth-rounder.

Jones was pulled after poor showings in four different games, before Bill Belichick finally made Bailey Zappe the permanent starter for the team's final six contests. New Patriots offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt didn't completely dismiss the idea of Jones starting under center for New England next season, but that would be quite the Hail Mary attempt and Van Pelt's response tilted far more on the scale toward diplomatic than truthful.

Patriots brass has been linked to drafting a quarterback with their third overall pick, signing a bridge veteran quarterback, and still have Bailey Zappe on the roster. Only three seasons after being tabbed as the franchise's quarterback of the future, Jones has a foot out of the door in New England.

Jones has been putrid over the last two seasons, making it easy to forget that he put together quite the promising rookie campaign. He finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting while completing 67.7 percent of his passees for 3,801 yards and 22 scores. No matter how you feel about Jones and his future in the league, he has demonstrated the ability to perform at a starting quarterback level in the NFL. That is an undeniable fact. His performance has also been hideous over the last two years. Both can be true.

Fellow NFL franchises could be holding out hope that Jones can be rejuvenated, and the reported price for Jones is low enough that teams might be willing to take that gamble. Here are three teams that could fit that bill.

3. New York Giants

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll served as Alabama's offensive coordinator for the 2017 season, while Mac Jones was a freshman for the Crimson Tide. Although Jones didn't start while Daboll was in Tuscaloosa (Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa rounded out a stacked quarterback room), Daboll obviously would have interacted with him on the practice field and in the film room. The Giants head coach has been on record as saying that he came away with those interactions with a positive impression, so perhaps he takes a flyer on him and hopes to tap into some of the prolific potential that the quarterback showcased at Alabama, if any salvageable value remains. Daboll was able to pry some production out of Tommy DeVito last season, so anything is possible.

Daboll spoke highly of Jones at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, albeit the coach's glowing assessment came before Jones' stock has plummeted over the last two seasons.

"Mac was a good player. Obviously did a really good job this year, very proud of him. Building a relationship a few years back with him and his family and watching him grow, I think he has a bright future.”"

Brian Daboll in March 2022

New York is reportedly "absolutely done" with incumbent signal caller Daniel Jones and are expressing "buyer's remorse" only barely a year after inking him to a $160 million extension last March.

The Giants are locked in at the sixth overall pick and reports out of the combine in Indianapolis are that the team has discussed trading up to select a quarterback with other front offices. The Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders, and New England Patriots hold the first, second, and third overall picks, respectively. With the top three picks expected to shake out as some order of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels, New York would presumably have held talks with those three aforementioned franchises.

However, it would likely take a king's ransom for New York to move up the draft board and they could stay pat at six.

It would take a shocking development for Mac Jones to be the Giants' Week 1 starter, but don't be surprised if Daboll reunites with him and adds some depth to the quarterback room.