Rumored plans for the Patriots' third overall pick are leaked

Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft  (left) announces the
Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (left) announces the / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Speculation about what the Patriots are going to do this offseason to improve their offensive roster continues, as the 2024 NFL Combine is well underway.

From who they will draft third overall and the possibility of trading back to which veteran quarterback they may have their eye on to be the starter next season, it has all been discussed and debated over the last several weeks.

Because free agency kicks off in two weeks, we may get the answers regarding their plan as soon as then. However, their plans have been leaked this week; at least, that's what is being reported by Mark Daniels, Karen Guregian, and Chris Mason of MassLive.

According to their sources, although it's not shocking, New England is said to be all in on taking a quarterback with their coveted pick.

"According to multiple sources, the Patriots are planning to draft a quarterback with the No. 3 pick. One NFL executive, outside of New England, relayed that it’s widely expected in league circles that quarterbacks will be selected with the first three picks in April."

Despite the lack of excitement from the leak, since most fans and analysts assumed that would be the team's direction, there had been talk of the Patriots potentially trading back to acquire more picks or even remaining at the third selection and taking a wide receiver instead.

There have been various theories about what the best direction would be for a team in their shoes, especially since taking a quarterback is a risky move and even more so when it appears they will automatically have to take who is considered the third best of the class.

However, for most, and it appears for the Patriots, too, it is worth the risk given their dire need for an upgrade at quarterback. They've been served a harsh reminder that you can't succeed in the NFL without more than adequate play from the most important player on the team, so even if they take the third-best of the 2024 class, it should be better than what they've had over the last few years.

Patriots may be zeroing in on a rookie quarterback, but don't rule out a veteran starting in 2024

Even though the plan is to take a quarterback in the first round, the latest rumors suggest Jerod Mayo and Co. are also considering signing a veteran in free agency with the possibility of them being the starter for next season.

Daniels, Guregian, and Mason cite sources claiming that what happens in free agency will determine how they proceed with the draft and the quarterbacks specifically, with whom they can draft as the primary factor in determining what they ultimately decide.

"According to a source, the Patriots plan on signing a veteran free agent quarterback, too. The team is in no rush to start a rookie immediately and could play that veteran if they think it would benefit the younger quarterback to sit for a season.

For the Patriots, several dominos must fall before they know who their starting quarterback will be. If the team selects Daniels or Maye and deems them ready, the rookie would start. But this is a process that this new Patriots brass isn’t going to rush."

Based on this notion and the connections some of Mayo's new staff have, mainly Alex Van Pelt, there is a belief that guys like Jacoby Brissett and Joe Flacco could be targets in free agency. Both worked with Van Pelt when he was with the Browns and were successful under his tutelage.

"Van Pelt was the offensive coordinator and McCartney was the tight ends coach in Cleveland when Brissett was there in 2022. Last season, Flacco worked with Van Pelt and McCartney in Cleveland. In 2019, McCartney was also Flacco’s quarterbacks coach in Denver."

Perhaps Patriots fans won't be overly thrilled with those names, given the other quarterbacks heading to free agency. But if the plan is to have veterans come in as a bridge player and a mentor to a rookie, they feel like the best options.

Sure, Kirk Cousins or Baker Mayfield might be more appealing, but they'll also cost a lot more money to sign. It seems silly to hand out massive contracts to players you don't intend to be the team's future.

It's an aspect fans need to remember when looking ahead at what the Patriots hope to accomplish. They want to build a better, more competitive team and get back to winning games. But that doesn't happen overnight or even in one season. It takes time, so we have to learn to be patient and accept the growing pains that come with rebuilding.

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