Patriots players’ feelings on constant offseason drama revealed

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 06: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots calls a play in the huddle against the Indianapolis Colts during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on November 06, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 06: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots calls a play in the huddle against the Indianapolis Colts during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on November 06, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

Typically, this time of year for any team in the NFL is pretty dull until the first week of free agency starts and draft season begins. But the Patriots are known to do things differently than most, including this offseason.

Instead of writing about the prospects that best fit the team in the quickly approaching draft or hyping the upcoming season, the Patriots have made news for all the wrong reasons.

The drama has remained surrounding Bill Belichick and Mac Jones in particular, stemming from the struggles of last season that have allegedly created a rift between them. Several articles have been posted detailing the latest rumors regarding Belichick’s free agency moves, with Pro Football Talk suggesting the head coach had recently spoken to teams about trading Jones before the draft.

The reason for the speculated trade talks was also revealed recently, with Chris Simms claiming Jones had reached out to his alma mater Alabama for coaching advice during the 2022 season. Word got back to Belichick about the quarterback seeking help outside the building, which is said to have landed Jones in the doghouse, thus becoming the likely reason he was placed on the trade block.

Although many Patriots beat reporters have debunked the rumor since the article was published last week, the conversation has continued, with media members adding more speculation by the day.

The tension within the building has been the dominating story about New England since the start of the offseason, painting a very unattractive image of the current workings within the organization.

Now, the feelings of Patriots’ staffers about the string of rumors have been revealed, as Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston shared in the latest Next Pats Podcast in recent days.

"“I heard what I would best describe as a collective rolling of eyes from folks with the team on Mac seeking out help and potentially being traded in part because of that. What I’ve been told from a variety of different folks — with the team, formerly with the team, understanding of the situation, watching the situation from afar — they will put it very plainly: They don’t believe Mac Jones was being coached last year, so Mac Jones reached out to people for some coaching.The rolling of eyes that I hear is when that situation gets laid out … people look at that and say, ‘OK, I get it. You’re not looking for your players to do that. But he wasn’t being coached. He sought out coaching, and now he’s the problem? What are we talking about here?'”"

Considering the vast majority of responses to this alleged situation have been unfavorable in Jones’ direction, hearing his teammates recognize the inopportune situation he was put in is positive for the team moving forward.

There’s no denying that last season was a complete and utter wash. Whether or not Matt Patricia and Joe Judge were placed in their positions on a placeholder basis because Bill O’Brien was always the choice is irrelevant, not to mention not very Belichick-like. For a head coach who has repeatedly said to have put the team in the best position to win, that is not what he did for his second-year quarterback.

Perry went on to reveal that those within the building feel what Jones reportedly did behind the scenes before reaching out to Alabama coaches is not something he should be punished for, especially given the circumstances.

"“Folks in the building understand he was in an adverse situation, and that is putting it gently. It’s really difficult to hold it against him that he tried to fix it on his own. This is how people view this: Mac Jones felt as though he had exhausted all options available to him in the building, so he went out and pursued improvement elsewhere. And he might be punished because of that? He might be traded because of that? That’s him writing his own ticket out of town?There’s an absurdity to all of this that is not lost on Patriots employees.”"

Then he spoke about Jones’ teammates, reporting that they, too, are unhappy with the constant headlines about the quarterback.

"“I’ve spoken to players who are not happy that this is in the news, that the Patriots and their potential interest in trading Mac Jones is out there in the public sphere. They aren’t happy on Mac’s behalf; they aren’t happy, period, on their own behalf. They’re not happy that 2022 is bleeding into 2023.”"

With the first day of OTAs set to begin next Monday, the 17th, it will be interesting to see how this plays out when the team is together.

Will they finally move on from the struggles of the 2022 season?

Can Belichick and Jones set aside their unsettled feelings resulting from the events of last year and adjust their focus to the upcoming season?

Time will tell, but hopefully, we will see a united front from both over the next several months.