Former 1st-Round QB Viewed as Possible Reclamation Project for Sean Payton

Sean Payton

Getty Broncos HC Sean Payton might be in the market for a new quarterback in 2024.

The Denver Broncos have several questions to answer ahead of the 2024 season. Head coach Sean Payton will likely consider a potential upgrade from Russell Wilson in the offseason.

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones needs a change of scenery and a move to the Mile High City could be what he needs to get his derailed career back on track. Jones could be a reclamation project for Payton, as Lou Scataglia of Predominantly Orange proposed in his November 10 article.

The New England Patriots are a lost franchise that needs so much to get back to being a competent team. Well, Mac Jones has clearly shown that he isn’t the answer, and I think the Patriots are prepared to take a QB high in the 2024 NFL Draft. With the way that Jones’ tenure has gone in New England, I think he wouldn’t hate a fresh start somewhere.

Well, Jones might be perfect for Sean Payton’s offense. Payton worked with a QB in Drew Brees whom Jones shares a few similarities to. Both passers aren’t mobile at all; they had good-not-great arms that often relied on their anticipation and knowledge of the offense to produce. Jones still has one more year left on his deal if the Broncos were to decline his fifth-year option.

All Downhill for Mac Jones After 2021 Rookie Campaign

Mac Jones

GettyMac Jones has had a rough go in New England the last two seasons.

The Patriots selected Jones with the 15th overall pick out of the University of Alabama in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jones was the only rookie quarterback to lead his team to a winning record and a playoff appearance. His highlight of that season was going toe-to-toe with Patriots legend Tom Brady in a 19-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Patriots would finish 10-7 as the Alabama product was named to his only Pro Bowl after throwing 22 touchdown passes. Things have gone downhill for Jones and the six-time Super Bowl champions the last two seasons.

New England has gone 8-15 in Jones’ 23 career starts since 2021. Offensive instability has been the main contributor to his regression.

Following the 2021 season, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left to become head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Bill Belichick hired former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and former special teams coordinator Joe Judge to run the offense. The results went about as expected.

Jones threw 14 touchdowns as the Patriots missed the postseason at 8-9.

Then in 2023, Jones saw another change at playcaller as offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien returned to New England.

Jones is tied for the league lead with nine interceptions through nine games. He threw four in back-to-back weeks against the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints as the Patriots were outscored 72-3.

Mac Jones Would Have Stability in Denver Under Sean Payton

Mac Jones

GettyMoving to Colorado could be beneficial for Mac Jones.

Despite the Broncos sitting at 3-5 entering Week 10 against the Buffalo Bills, their future under Payton is promising. That bodes well for Jones, as he needs a stable environment to regain the promise he flashed as a rookie.

Besides coaching changes, the problem for Jones in New England has been the lack of pass catchers at his disposal. Jones has never had a receiver amass 1,000 yards.

Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers led the Patriots in receiving in Jones’ first two seasons. However, Meyers failed to break even 900 yards receiving. He signed a three-year contract with the Raiders during the 2023 free agency period.

In Denver, Jones will be throwing to Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Greg Dulcich and when healthy, Tim Patrick. The third-year quarterback already has a connection with Jeudy. Both players were teammates at Alabama from 2018-19.

Remember, Drew Brees did not become a Hall of Fame player overnight. Payton played a significant role in getting him there.

With better pass catchers and an offense that works around his limitations, Jones could be the ideal player in Payton’s offense.

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