Nightmare Patriots schedule means Drake Maye might not play in 2024

Based on how the Patriots' 2024 schedule turned out, it might be better for Jerod Mayo to keep Drake Maye off the field as a rookie.
North Carolina v Pittsburgh
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Once it was official that the Patriots would hold a top-three pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, it was clear they were going to select their next franchise quarterback. Although plenty of speculation suggested they might trade down, they had their eyes set on Drake Maye and Drake Maye only.

Typically, a quarterback drafted as high as Maye would be the starter from day one. But the Patriots signed Jacoby Brissett in free agency earlier this year, with the assumption that he would be the QB1 at least to start the year until the rookie was ready to take over.

That has remained the belief since the draft, with Jerod Mayo suggesting there will be a quarterback competition during the summer to determine who will win the starting job.

While that might still be true, seeing how the Patriots' schedule turned out might change their mind.

Nightmare Patriots schedule means Drake Maye might not play in 2024

When New England's opponents for this upcoming season were revealed, it became apparent that it would be far from easy. This was proven statistically based on the strength of schedule rankings, which have the Patriots tied in the tenth spot. It is far better than what they had last year, but still a challenging docket of games.

As if their lineup of opponents wasn't intimidating enough, the NFL made it worse with how they put their schedule together.

They start the season on the road against the Bengals, who have become a perennial Super Bowl favorite. A few weeks later in Week 3, they face the Aaron Rodgers-led Jets in New York and then face the 49ers in San Francisco a week later.

The next couple of games will be tricky, but the Week 14 bye really takes the cake. That almost certainly guarantees that Maye will not have a second-half start.

Rookie quarterbacks don't necessarily need to be handed an easy route, but putting Maye on the field for the final eight games doesn't look like a smart way to get him acclimated to playing in the NFL.

Although sitting behind Brissett for the first half of the year would be beneficial, they must avoid recreating what happened with Mac Jones during his tenure. If they don't look on track to be a postseason contender, it seems even less wise to put Maye out amid a difficult stretch of games.

It won't be an easy decision for the new staff regarding the high draft pick, and most will probably not agree no matter the decision.

However, a quarterback sitting behind a veteran for their entire rookie season has proven to be worth it in the long run, and given the schedule they face this year, it might make the decision simpler for the Patriots.

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