The New England Patriots are in an unfortunate spot with their quarterback situation, as they don't have a clear franchise passer. Who is most likely to hold that role for the team? I do think that it's possible that Mac Jones can shut the door on the QB uncertainty for the New England Patriots. Jones could pick up where he left off after his rookie season, which would give the Patriots a long-term solution after the departure of Tom Brady.
However, what if Mac Jones struggles? And what if Bailey Zappe is JAG? It's also very possible that the true long-term QB for the New England Patriots is not on the roster currently. Fortunately, I do think the team has an opportunity to find that passer next offseason if the 2023 season does not go well.
And what's also nice is that the Patriots don't necessarily have to draft their long-term QB of the future. I get that the best QBs in the league have been drafted by their current teams, but other teams who have made big QB trades in recent years have also, to an extent, found their franchise passer.
Let's dive into the three most likely long-term QB options for the New England Patriots.
3 most likely long-term QB solutions for the New England Patriots
3. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
One bold prediction I have for the 2023 NFL season is that the Arizona Cardinals end up earning the #1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and will trade Kyler Murray to give them an opening to select Caleb Williams, who looks to be one of the best QB prospects coming out of college in quite some time.
The Cardinals trading Murray if they have a clear shot at Williams makes a ton of sense. The new regime of Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon have no connections to Murray, and his large contract could provide some insane cap relief if unloaded from their books. The Pro Bowl QB would be just 27 years old at this time next year, and the New England Patriots should most definitely have interest if they don't have a clear answer at the position.
Kyler Murray is a true-dual threat QB and there are only a few of those passers in the NFL today. Murray likely won't be as good as Josh Allen at any point, but you could argue that the Patriots potentially acquiring Murray would give them the second-best QB in the division, with Murray ranking above Tua Tagovailoa and Aaron Rodgers.
2. Someone in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft
The quarterback class in the 2024 NFL Draft seems to be pretty deep, and if the Patriots' current quarterbacks struggle, the team should be picking near the top of the draft board, which could give them a shot to select someone like Drake Maye from UNC. If Maye ends up not being an option, other names like Quinn Ewers, Bo Mix, Michael Penix Jr, and Jayden Daniels.
Here's the thing, though: How do we know the New England Patriots are able to draft a franchise QB? Bill Belichick really hasn't had to do that much since Tom Brady played for so long, and his two notable QB selections of Jimmy Garoppolo and Mac Jones have each not proven to be franchise passers. Furthermore, if the team ends up moving on from Belichick as head coach an GM after this year, the organization would have a completely new face calling the shots in 2024 and beyond.
The latter might actually be the best possible solution for the team. Belichick's recent activity as the GM doesn't seem to inspire much confidence in the future of the team. I do think having two separate people within the organization as HC and GM is the best route to take. And if that is the case, the new HC/GM combo would definitely take a major chance on a QB, likely in the NFL Draft at some point.
Most in the fanbase are almost emotionally connected to Bill Belichick, but I think his time with the team is ticking down.