Besides the nearly 30 players heading to free agency, the Patriots have to worry about, they also have a handful whose future will need to be decided this offseason. It's not exactly a position a new head coach wants to be in, but Jerod Mayo will need to move swiftly if he intends to rebuild a roster to be a competitive team in the years ahead.
There is also the potential desire to create more cap space ahead of time, allowing Mayo to spend even more than the estimated $70 million available for them in free agency. Choosing to release or trade some of the players with the murkiest futures would benefit the Patriots immediately, especially during an offseason when the roster needs significant upgrading.
These are just five of the players that have unsettled futures in New England during the next several months.
This seems like the most obvious answer, mainly due to how his last two seasons have unfolded. But Mac Jones's time with the Patriots appears the least clear of all after being benched in 2023 for backup Bailey Zappe and the Patriots seemingly eyeing a rookie quarterback to take over the offense next season.
Although there are certainly arguments to be made about who is most to blame for the young quarterback's apparent regression, Mayo could decide Jones does not fit his vision for building the offensive roster. Even if he isn't named the starting quarterback, he could ultimately be relegated to the backup role, which wouldn't be a bad idea.
However, the team may want to start completely fresh as they enter the post-Bill Belichick era in New England.
No matter the case, Jones doesn't look to be on the cusp of regaining his starting job, at least with the Patriots. He could be traded if Mayo could somehow find a team willing to give up worthy compensation, or perhaps the idea of retaining a player knowledgeable of the system will be enticing enough for the new head coach to keep him as a backup for at least until his contract expires next year.
No matter what ends up happening, the one clear thing is Jones's career is anything but.