When Mac Jones was drafted in 2021, there was some underlying chatter that the Patriots may have gotten the best quarterback of the class, and he somehow managed to fall to them at pick 15. There were rumors that the 49ers, who traded up into the top 5 to get a quarterback, had seriously considered taking Jones instead of Trey Lance but ultimately went with the one from North Dakota State.
Comparing how the two have fared since entering the league, there is an argument to be made the Patriots got the better player of the two. However, it has not been a smooth ride for Jones over the last three years in New England.
He impressed during his rookie year and had an expected down year in 2022 due to the loss of Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia replacing him despite his lack of experience with the offense. Once it was clear he would not be returning, and instead, Bill O'Brien was returning, the assumption was the Jones of 2021 would return to the field in short order.
But as we saw, a worse version of the quarterback was present last season, forcing Belichick to bench him four times before ultimately keeping him there in place of Bailey Zappe. Now, there are plenty of arguments to be made regarding how Jones has fallen flat so quickly and all the factors that have impacted him, but without getting into that, his performance in 2023 was nothing short of disappointing.
Heading into a new offseason with a new head coach and another offensive coordinator, Jones will be doing all that he can to not just keep his job, even as a backup, but also attempt to prove he can be the QB1 for a team that has all the makings of drafting their next franchise quarterback.
Since Jerod Mayo has been with the team throughout the first three years of Jones's career, he knows all the struggles he has faced on and off the field, as well as anyone. He's openly discussed the quarterback and hasn't ruled out giving him another chance, but the 2023 season may have sealed Jones' fate, at least in Foxboro.