Heading into the 2023 season, it appeared the Patriots were back on track with Mac Jones, and the debate of who would be the starter for the year had been settled. Bill O'Brien's hire seemed to significantly impact the young quarterback's development after an understandably difficult season a year before, and there was optimism he would revert to the player he was as a rookie.
That didn't end up being the case, as Jones was benched four times before being replaced by backup Bailey Zappe, who looks to be the chosen one to finish the rest of the season. Although the Patriots seemingly made it clear they were out on the guy responsible for the Fever last year, Jones's poor performance left Bill Belichick no choice but to throw Zappe in and see what happens.
So far, he hasn't blown anyone away with his performances, even if he did snag a win out in Pittsburgh. And now, because the position is once again in flux, there's a lot of talk about what the Patriots were doing prior to the start of the season that may have put them in a better situation through 14 weeks.
Because of the rise of Giants' quarterback Tommy DeVito, his agent, Sean Stellato, who went viral on Monday Night Football, recently spoke with NESN about New England's interest in signing the 25-year-old after New York waived him during initial roster cuts in August.
Stellato shared the details of the conversations that were had with the Patriots and the quarterback, who ultimately decided to re-sign with the Giants' practice squad instead of New England.
"I think (Belichick) saw the value in him. They wanted to sign him to the practice squad and make it an open competition with Bailey (Zappe) for 10 days. Tommy and I both felt to comprehend a (play)book in 10 days, that’s a little uphill, where you have familiarity with the Giants organization. They kind of had a game plan for you. I guess at the end of the day, we were looking at it, if they like you that much, why not claim him?"
Given that it was his home team and DeVito knew he was likely competing to be the third-string quarterback, it makes all the sense in the world why he chose to stay put.
Of course, nobody could have predicted that he would step in for an injured Daniel Jones and go undefeated as a starter in his first few games, but the Patriots certainly could have benefitted from that now, seeing how their seasons have differed.
Having DeVito on the roster could have solved some issues early on when Jones was pulled from games for Zappe, who didn't have much more luck than the starter. Then the up-and-down tenure of Will Grier and the eventual departure of Malik Cunningham to the Ravens, at least DeVito could have been a solid option during the offense's time of need.
But this is just the latest example of the Patriots maybe not doing their due diligence and paying the price for it. This may just be a story right now because of how DeVito has performed so far, and perhaps that won't last long. But since the Patriots are in one of the worst positions possible with not having a quarterback, DeVito had the possibility of at least making a difficult situation a bit better.