When the New England Patriots parted ways with Super Bowl-winning head coach Bill Belichick earlier this month and hired Jerod Mayo as the team’s new head coach, there was a belief that the Patriots would go in a different direction at quarterback next season.
Mac Jones, who opened the 2023 season as the Patriots’ starting quarterback, was benched for Bailey Zappe in Week 12 against the New York Giants and demoted to third-string.
With Jones struggling and New England having the third pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, it seems likely the organization will go in another direction. However, Mayo hasn’t closed the door on the former first-round pick staying with the team next season.
Patriots Rumors: Door Isn’t Shut on Mac Jones Returning to New England
Mark Daniels of MassLive.com penned a detailed story on how things went south for Jones this season, which included rifts with Belichick.
Daniels wrote that Belichick and Jones’ relationship ended “so poorly that sources all but guaranteed Jones wouldn’t be back with the Patriots had returned.” However, the Patriots beat writer added this caveat, “With Jerod Mayo now in charge, the door isn’t shut, sources agreed.”
It’s not a shock to see the Patriots not outright move on from Jones, even if they ultimately select a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft. The former Alabama Crimson Tide signal-caller could be a solid QB2 to whichever rookie the Pats select, or he could reclaim his spot as the starting QB in training camp.
An important note, however, is that Daniels also reports the team is not planning to pick up Jones' fifth-year option.
The Patriots haven’t hired a new offensive coordinator yet, which will play a sizable role in what the team decides to do at the QB spot. Jones has struggled over the last two seasons, but his offensive coordinators were Matt Patricia and Bill O’Brien.
O’Brien was an instant upgrade over Patricia, but the Patriots’ offense this season lacked a lot of weapons, especially at wide receiver.
After how this season played out, the former first-round pick doesn’t have a ton of trade value and would be better off staying and showing teams around the league that he can still be a starting-caliber quarterback.
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