Among the several Patriots players who have been most commonly discussed as trade candidates as the deadline nears, one name that has come up more than once, surprisingly (and unsurprisingly), has been Mac Jones.
Given how he has performed this season and his evidentiary decline that seemed to begin last year, many fans and media members feel it would be best for Bill Belichick to explore the quarterback market and dangle Jones to the league to see who may take an interest.
To a certain degree, it makes sense because he hasn't been playing well and, in some cases, has been the reason they lost some games. But even with that in mind, the Patriots don't have a better option waiting in the wings, making it seem foolish to deal Jones mid-season unless they're really going into full tank mode.
If that's the case, particularly if Belichick and Robert Kraft agree that Jones is not the franchise quarterback they were hoping for, then NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky says it's time to move on from Jones sooner rather than later.
While appearing on WEEI's "Jones and Mego" earlier this week, the former quarterback, who has been a staunch Jones defender over the years, was asked if the Patriots should discuss trading the quarterback this season. Considering his usual stance, his response spoke volumes regarding Jones' current position on the team.
"Should they consider it? The answer to that question is yes, if they have made the determination they are done with Mac. And when I say they, it’s Mr. Kraft. And then it’s Bill Belichick.
Now, both of those guys need to be in conjunction thinking that they’re going to be together next year. And I know that’s become a topic of conversation — Is Coach Belichick going to be there? Is Mr. Kraft going to do something? Obviously, the years of disappointment over the last three.
So, if both of those guys are like, ‘We’re done with Mac Jones, we are definitely doing something else.’ Then the answer to that question is unquestionably yes."
He makes a great point about Belichick and Kraft needing to decide together, which has been among the most highly debated arguments since the start of the 2023 season. It will likely continue if the Patriots keep losing, and the organization must decide what is best for the team moving forward.
The problem with that, however, is there isn't much time left before the deadline to give adequate time to make such a big decision. It may not be a difficult choice to some because of how poorly Jones has been playing. But as it's been said, Tom Brady isn't walking through the door to save the team.
Malik Cunningham, Will Grier, and Bailey Zappe are likely not much better than what they're getting from Jones, making it seem like a relatively easy decision to veto any possibility of a trade for Jones.
Perhaps it's an idea they explore next season or during the offseason, but it all hinges on how they hope the season will end: better than it started or stay on pace in order to obtain a better draft position.