Tuesday's NFL trade deadline came and went, revealing who'll remain on the New England Patriots roster for the rest of the 2023 campaign. Even though the playoffs seem like a pipedream due to a 2-6 record heading into Week 9, Patriots fans are hopeful that the team can end the season on a high note.
If New England wants a strong second-half performance, certain players must step up. Just because an individual wasn't traded Tuesday doesn't mean that their future with the organization is safe, especially if they were already underperforming through the first eight weeks.
With that in mind, here are five Patriots who are still on thin ice after surviving the trade deadline.
5 Patriots on Thin Ice After Trade Deadline
1. Mac Jones
It should go without saying that no Patriot is facing more pressure in the second half of the season than quarterback Mac Jones.
Although his play has improved in recent weeks, Jones' 2023 campaign as a whole has been disappointing. Averaging a career-low 205.1 passing yards per game, the 25-year-old gunslinger is leading the Patriots to back-to-back losing seasons after throwing just nine touchdowns to eight interceptions through eight starts.
It's gotten to the point where some New England fans would rather see Bailey Zappe or Malik Cunningham under center over Jones.
In other words, the rest of the season will reveal if the former 2021 first-rounder is capable of being the Patriots' No. 1 QB going forward. New England will likely have a top-five pick at the 2024 NFL Draft, allowing them to draft a quarterback prospect like Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or J.J. McCarthy.
If Jones can't prove that he's an everyday starter down the stretch, I won't be surprised if the Pats attempt to move him this offseason. After all, there's a good chance that Jones is who he is at this point, whereas the top QB prospects likely have higher ceilings than what he offers.
The clock is ticking for Jones to show the Patriots that he's worth keeping around.