A lot has been said this past week regarding Pro Football Talk’s report claiming Bill Belichick had trade conversations involving Mac Jones with a handful of teams around the league.
The story has since been debunked by multiple reporters citing sources close to the situation, but the discussion continues due to the unfavorable results of last season. Belichick and Jones have been the targets of much criticism since the quarterback was drafted, which has only increased since the conclusion of last year.
The 2022 season was highly scrutinized, starting as early as the team’s OTAs in the spring. Once it was clear that Matt Patricia would be replacing Josh McDaniels, all eyes were on New England, especially on Jones, as he entered what had been presumed to be a second-year jump.
Belichick’s decision to place Patricia in a position he had no experience or qualifications for became the most talked about subject for much of the year, with most critiques coming at the expense of the head coach. But things have changed over the last few months, with much blame being placed on the wrong people.
Although many media members disagreed with Belichick’s decision to make Patricia the offensive play caller from the start, several of those same people have now switched the blame to Jones for his lackluster performance through the adversity.
So when rumors revealed that Belichick had shopped Jones this offseason, they chose Belichick’s side and placed nearly all blame on the quarterback’s inability to overcome inadequate coaching.
An interesting stance, right?
But one media member who has historically not been a fan of the Patriots spoke about this topic last week, and he chose to side with Jones. So much so that he declared he should ask for a trade from the Patriots.
On last Wednesday’s episode of Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe spoke about the rumor, speculating how Jones must have felt being put in the unique situation last season, having a defensive-minded coach become your play caller.
Sharpe discussed what has allegedly caused the friction between Belichick and Jones, stating that the quarterback was put in a difficult position and was likely seeking guidance on how to deal with the circumstances he was put in.
"“Coaches like to tell you, ‘I’ve got an open door policy. Mac Jones is probably voicing his concerns. Not only to Matt Patricia. Not only to Joe Judge. And I’m sure they went back to Coach Belichick like little disciples, like they should. And guess what. It’s falling on deaf ears. So, you know what, let me go to somebody (if I’m Jones) and (ask), ‘How should I handle this? What should I do? Should I say something? Should I speak out? Should I go public to the media? How do I handle it? Do I just bite my tongue until blood starts to pour down my (face)? What do I do?’I’m trying to talk to Matt Patricia, but he’s just like Belichick. Joe Judge, he’s just like Belichick. Coach Belichick don’t want to hear anything I’ve got to say because he’s all annoyed — ‘How can you question anything that I do? See all my rings?’ He’s the type of guy (to say), ‘You see all these rings I’ve got?’"
His point regarding the stubbornness of Belichick was even pointed out by longtime foe Eric Mangini last week, who knows a lot about making Belichick unhappy.
So what was Jones supposed to do?
It was apparent to everyone, even Belichick, that the personnel decisions made for last season were far from ideal, regardless of the intent or choice to be unconventional. Jones was entering just his second season in the NFL, after a touted rookie year with hopes to improve upon that, only to be given an impossible shot to compete.
With that in mind, Sharpe declared that Jones should request a trade from the Patriots, mainly because this isn’t the first occurrence of negative things said about him publicly by his head coach.
"“If I’m Mac Jones, stay there for what? To be belittled, I’m not winning and you’re not putting me in a situation where I can succeed. Yeah, get me up out of here.”"
Where the Patriots go from here will be an interesting watch.
Despite the inconsistency between Belichick and Robert Kraft surrounding Jones’ future, it seems the plan was to move forward with him under center. From the Bill O’Brien and Adrian Klemm hirings to players brought in during free agency and their rumored plans for the draft, it all has the makings of a Jones-led Patriots team.
Will they be able to smooth over their differences and improve their chances of competing next season?