Patriots Have 1 Reason to Keep Mac Jones, Insider Says

Mac Jones

Getty Mac Jones' future with the Patriots remains up in the air.

While the New England Patriots look poised to take a quarterback in the NFL Draft, ESPN Patriots insider Mike Reiss reported why quarterback Mac Jones leaving isn’t imminent yet.

Reiss wrote on Thursday that “some within the organization seem hopeful Jones can make a U-turn in New England, but that hardly seems unanimous, which means Jones would have to win over many people.” That comes on the heels of new Patriots offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt‘s comments that “everything is on the table” during Wednesday’s press conference.

Jones, a former No. 15 draft pick in 2021, hasn’t inspired confidence overall amid three seasons in Foxborough. His rookie year looked the best in 2021 when the Patriots made the playoffs, but Jones’ regression persisted throughout the 2022 and 2023 seasons amid losing records and a benching.

Bailey Zappe took over for Jones late in the 2023 season, and Jones didn’t play again after that point. In three seasons, Jones has an 18-24 record amid 8,918 yards passing for 46 touchdowns versus 36 interceptions — uninspiring numbers for an NFL starting quarterback.

It doesn’t all fall on Jones. Reiss noted that “high-ranking team officials point to” former head coach Bill Belichick‘s choices from coaching staff to offensive personnel “that contributed to sabotaging Jones’ development and crushing his confidence” in that span.

If the Patriots kept Jones, he would play under his fourth different offensive coordinator and second head coach in four years. The Patriots also haven’t enjoyed stability nor quality at wide receiver in that span, especially amid the departure of Jakobi Meyers in free agency last year.

Meyers led the Patriots in receiving with 866 and 804 yards respectively in Jones’ first two years. The Patriots didn’t have a receiver go over 561 yards in 2023, and the team missed on DeAndre Hopkins in free agency despite positive signs from his visit.

Alex Van Pelt Reveals 4 Things He’s Looking for  in a Quarterback

Van Pelt, who played quarterback in the NFL himself, listed off what he wants in the next Patriots signal caller on Wednesday.

“The big pieces for me are the leadership, the toughness, the accuracy, and decision making — all four are important,” Van Pelt said.

Jones is almost three years removed from when he last led the Patriots to the playoffs. In terms of toughness, he only missed three games due to injury in three seasons amid 84 sacks and 117 rushing attempts.

His decision making doesn’t jump off the board amid more interceptions than touchdowns in 2023 and barely a better rate in 2022. Jones’s accuracy has promise, however, amid a 66.1% career mark, but he averaged 9.5 yards per completion last season — a progressive regression from 10.8 yards and 10.4 yards in the previous two years.

New England could find other options who meet all four criteria better than Jones whether in free agency or the draft. Whether or not the Patriots do that remains to be seen.

Cost vs. Benefit of Keeping Mac Jones

Entering his fourth season, Jones will carry a salary cap hit of $4.95 million in the final year of his four-year, $15.58 million rookie deal.

The Patriots could keep Jones on the roster as a backup, but New England could save $2.78 million in cap savings via a trade before or after June 1. That savings could help with another position of need or for a different backup quarterback.