Marcus Jones out? Patriots can now bring back All-Pro returner

Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots
Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots / Billie Weiss/GettyImages

Despite the coaching improvements the Patriots made to the offense and special teams this past offseason, neither unit has been performing well thus far. The trade deadline is approaching, and there isn't much optimism that Bill Belichick will do anything drastic, but if he hopes to improve at least one part of the team, a door just opened to re-sign a familiar face.

Other than the team just not performing up to par, a long list of injuries has piled up over the weeks, weakening the roster overall. One of the bigger losses for potentially the rest of the year was Marcus Jones, who suffered a torn labrum in Week 2.

Because he had become the primary punt returner since being drafted last year, it's a significant loss for the special teams, who have been uncharacteristically inconsistent to start the season. So if Belichick wants to add a Jones replacement, recently released Gunner Olszewski would be the way to go.

During the three seasons Olszewski spent in New England, he was the go-to returner who earned All-Pro honors in his second season. When he became a free agent in 2022, he chose to sign with the Steelers, hoping to get a fresh start somewhere that would utilize him more offensively. But during his season and a half in Pittsburgh, he was used more sparingly than he was with the Patriots.

Now that it was reported the Steelers were releasing him on Friday morning, and the Patriots are in need of a reliable contributor, Belichick should, at the very least, inquire about re-signing the once promising special teamer.

He may not be a game-changer on offense, but his presence as a returner would bring some ease on special teams that has been lacking in recent weeks. Various players have been rotating in that position, including Myles Bryant, Demario Douglas, and Jabrill Peppers, none of which have been necessarily ideal, especially with diminished offensive and defensive rosters.

Re-signing Olszewski would ensure they were in good hands for punt returns and would be one less thing to worry about as the Patriots hope to get back on the winning side of things.