Saints Tried to Trade For Patriots Star ‘Several Times’: Report

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The New England Patriots watched a ton of teams move up and down the draft board last year to position themselves to select what they hope will become their franchise quarterbacks.

Meanwhile, Bill Belichick and Co. sat pat at No. 15 and landed the runner-up to the NFL Offensive Rookie of Year award, Mac Jones.

Jones led the Patriots to the playoffs in 2021 and he made the Pro Bowl. Did any team try to leapfrog the Patriots to snatch Jones away? According to a recent article from The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, the New Orleans Saints really wanted Jones to takeover as their next QB1.

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He wouldn’t have directly succeeded Drew Brees as the team’s starting quarterback, but Jones would have stepped in as the next potential long-term solution for the sport’s most important position.

The Saints Tried Hard to Leapfrog the Patriots to Draft Mac Jones

“The Saints tried several times last year to leapfrog the Patriots to steal Mac Jones as he slid down the board, according to sources,” Howe wrote. “The Saints’ problem was that they couldn’t find a team that was interested in moving all the way back to No. 28.”

Dropping 13 spots would have been a lot for the Patriots, and they obviously needed a long-term answer for the position. Ultimately, picking Jones at No. 15 was too much for New England to pass up. The Saints are in a better situation this year.

“Now, with very few consensus top-10 prospects in the class, the Saints have the assets to entice a team to move back,” Howe wrote. “There might be several teams that would prefer to move their top-10 pick for Nos. 16 and 19, and the Saints are clearly motivated to find a long-term solution at quarterback after they had so many issues in their first season without Drew Brees.”

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Unfortunately for the Saints, the 2022 NFL Draft isn’t considered to be as good of a draft for quarterbacks as the 2021 class–at least not on paper. How would things have been different for both teams if the Saints had drafted Jones instead of the Patriots?

What Would the Patriots Look Like Without Mac Jones?

Chances are, if the Patriots didn’t get Jones at No. 15, even if they hadn’t traded back, they wouldn’t have selected a quarterback in the first round. That would mean New England probably would have stuck with Cam Newton as their starter.

Based on the run-dominant team they had and Newton’s abilities as a dual-threat, the Patriots’ attack would have looked different, but arguably not any less effective.

Newton’s struggles throwing the ball would have led to even more defenders in the box, and Patriots now-former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would have been charged with having Newton throw it deep to Nelson Agholor to loosen things up. I’m not sure that would have ever happened considering he didn’t trust Jones to go long much, and he doesn’t appear to have some of the same concerns as a thrower.

The Patriots might have taken Zaven Collins at No. 15. The Tulsa linebacker landed with the Arizona Cardinals at No. 16, but he had a disappointing rookie season. Collins played in all 17 games, but only earned six starts.

A more intriguing pick might have been wide receiver Kadarius Toney who went No. 20 to the New York Giants. Toney is arguably the most dynamic player to come out in 2021, but injury and off-the-field concerns would have made him a questionable selection.

As it is, the Patriots appear to have found their answer at quarterback for the near future. With the acquisition of DeVante Parker at WR and another selection of a weapon in the passing game in this month’s draft, the Patriots seem intent on setting their young signal-caller up for success.

Time will tell if he has what it takes to become what the Saints thought and the Patriots hope he becomes.

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