4 Patriots players we can safely call busts after the 2023 season

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Mac Jones

It has been quite a downhill spiral for the quarterback over the last three years, accomplishing an impressive rookie season only to be outright benched in 2023. Some of that may be attributed to the alleged hostility behind the scenes, with Belichick lacking any real interest in maintaining a relationship with Jones. But he certainly didn't help himself with his continued weak performances each week.

After the chaotic 2022 season, many offensive players whose production suffered due to Matt Patricia or Joe Judge were given a pass, Jones included. Because the coaches were not exactly qualified for their positions, the season was considered a wash for most who had a down year.

So when Bill O'Brien was brought in as the next offensive coordinator, the third one Jones would work with in three years, there was a bit of optimism that the quarterback we saw in 2021 would return in short order. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, and he actually seemed to play worse.

Although Jones's performance during his sophomore season was forgettable, he became a liability for the Patriots a year later. His poor decision-making and ill-timed turnovers became the common denominator for their continuing losses, prompting Belichick to remove him from four games before ultimately benching him to end his season early.

Rumors swirled all year about the tension behind the scenes between the players and Belichick, most of which focused on the alleged toxic environment that Jones contributed to. Whatever was going on led to Belichick ending the year not speaking to Jones to the point of not even telling him he was a healthy scratch to finish the season.

Now that Mayo is in charge, there's a chance the quarterback will get another shot at earning the trust of his teammates and proving he can be the guy they need under center. However, the circumstances haven't changed; Alex Van Pelt is the new offensive coordinator, meaning Jones will be working with his fourth in four years. So the situation, besides Belichick's exit, isn't any easier than it had been.

Jones will have to prove throughout the summer that he can get back to the player he was three years ago if he wants to remain with the team. Otherwise, speculation has already said the team is considering trading him this offseason since they're likely looking to draft their next franchise player in April.