Buccaneers Named ‘Potential’ Trade Destination for Ex-Pro Bowl QB: Report

Bruce Arians

Getty The Buccaneers are considered a "potential" destination for QB Mac Jones.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be looking at another new quarterback.

After signing Baker Mayfield in free agency this offseason, Tampa Bay could be a “potential” destination for another veteran quarterback. As Mike Florio of NBC Sports reports, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has shopped quarterback Mac Jones in trade talks this offseason.

Florio mentions the Buccaneers as one of four potential destinations.

“Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Belichick has shopped Jones to multiple teams during the 2023 offseason,” said Florio. “The full list of potential destinations isn’t known. The teams mentioned as potential destinations were the Raiders, Texans, Buccaneers, and Commanders.”

Why the Patriots Are Shopping QB Mac Jones

After a successful rookie campaign that saw Jones lead the Patriots to the playoffs, the former University of Alabama quarterback faltered during his second year in New England. Not only did Jones’ performance decline drastically — 14 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions, 6-8 record — he was nearly replaced in the starting lineup by fourth-round rookie Bailey Zappe and had lingering tension with Belichick throughout the season, according to Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston.

That lingering tension was in large part due to Jones going outside of the Patriots’ organization to the Alabama coaching staff to get information on how to properly run Matt Patricia’s offense, who returned to New England as the offensive play-caller for the 2022 season.

Via Florio:

“It started with Jones being on the wrong side of the failed experiment to replace offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with, well, not an offensive coordinator,” wrote Florio. “As Chris Simms explained on Monday’s PFT Live, Jones actually started calling members of the Alabama coaching staff in order to get some information as to how to properly run the offense under long-time defensive coach Matt Patricia.”

Patriots team owner Robert Kraft actually came to Jones’ defense last week, which may impact whether or not New England actually trades their former first-round draft pick.

“I’m a big fan of Mac,” Kraft told reporters last week. “He came to us as a rookie. He quarterbacked in his rookie season and did a very fine job I thought. We made the playoffs. I think we experimented with some things last year that frankly didn’t work when it came to him, in my opinion.”

Why the Buccaneers Won’t Make Move for Mac Jones

While the Buccaneers certainly don’t have a bonafide franchise quarterback on their roster following the retirement of Tom Brady, the acquisition of Jones would be a questionable one. Although Jones is a little younger than Mayfield, Tampa Bay already has its veteran quarterback on the roster to compete with third-year quarterback Kyle Trask, who was selected in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Entering the 2023 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers are in good position — they have the 19th overall pick — to select a quarterback. If Tampa Bay truly wanted to add a third quarterback, it would seem to make more sense doing so through the draft, rather than acquiring Jones, who has proven to have a limited ceiling due to his lack of arm strength.

If the Patriots do decide to move on from Jones, don’t expect the Buccaneers to give up significant assets to add another veteran quarterback to their roster.

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