Patriots get a fresh start with rookie quarterback in proposed Mac Jones trade

Washington Commanders v New England Patriots
Washington Commanders v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Now that it seems fairly certain Mac Jones and the Patriots will part at the end of the season, or at the very least continue being relegated to the bench, there's a lot of talk about how Bill Belichick or whomever next year's general manager will go about handling the situation.

Given their projected spot in the first round of the upcoming draft, everything points to the team selecting a rookie quarterback to be the starter next year. Neither Jones nor Bailey Zappe appears to be the right guy for the job, but Jones' future is more up in the air since he was benched after being taken out of four games.

So, if the end is near, what is the best course of action for the Patriots to take regarding Jones?

Besides keeping him as a potential backup, the premise of trading him has been continually brought up this season. Some felt he should've been dealt before the trade deadline in October, but reports indicated Belichick didn't receive any inquiries about his availability.

Assuming there are teams out there that believe Jones can benefit from a change of scenery and get back to his rookie form, Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac proposes a trade for the Patriots to send the quarterback off to a team with a good coach while receiving a (low) draft pick in return.

The Patriots trade Mac Jones to the San Francisco 49ers in this proposed trade

Ginnitti first speculates about how the Patriots will get to the point of deciding to make the trade.

"Will the Patriots find a trade partner for Mac Jones this winter? Will they pay him his fully guaranteed $2.78M salary as a buyout? Or will they keep him in the fold to compete as needed? Current QB1 Bailey Zappe sits on a non-guaranteed $985,000 minimum salary next season."

Zappe may be cheaper, but he hasn't proven he has all the makings of the type of quarterback the Patriots need now or in the future. That could change, but his salary shouldn't be a leading factor in deciding the outlook of Jones or the team.

So, if they choose to trade Jones, why would the 49ers be interested?

They have a rising star in Brock Purdy, who had been rising in the MVP odds before last week's disappointing performance. They don't look like a team needing a quarterback, but maybe this would be a nice parting gift from Belichick to Jones by sending him to a team with a talented head coach known for working well with quarterbacks with his skill set.

"While the MVP conversation has quickly cooled, Brock Purdy will remain one of the best values in the NFL next year, set to earn a league minimum $985,000. His contract cannot be extended until after the 2024 campaign. Both Sam Darnold & Brandon Allen are on expiring contracts right now."

Would this trade be worth it for either team?

In the proposal, Ginnitti suggests the Niners traded a seventh-round pick for Jones, which is quite a decline from his original first-round cost. If they intend to use him as a backup and hope to turn his career back around, then only losing a low pick seems worth it.

But would it be worth it for the Patriots?

Sure, they'll never get back the first-rounder they used on him. But how exactly is a seventh round pick worthy compensation? It won't help them much with their task of a dramatic offensive makeover, nor will it help them get their next quarterback. So, should they even consider it?

If the goal is to move on from Jones and receive something in return, which is better than nothing, they should be all about it. However, exploring other options would be wise, as teams needing a quarterback may be willing to pay more. Maybe not, but it wouldn't hurt to look into it.

The best part about the whole scenario would be the Patriots' clear decision to draft a quarterback in April. It will give the team the best chance at success as long as they put some significant changes in place.

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