Before even diving into the contents of these recent unsavory Mac Jones rumors coming out of New England, I was already trying to figure out where he could land if the Patriots granted him his release.
The thing is, I’d argue the two most logical landing spots for Jones would be either the Cleveland Browns amid their whole Deshaun Watson dumpster fire, or the New York Jets. I’ll believe Aaron Rodgers is back from a torn Achilles this calendar year when I see it, and until then, Zach Wilson has to somehow keep Gang Green in the AFC playoff hunt. Tough asks, those.
…But Belichick famously hates both the Browns and the Jets. Like, more than any other franchises out there. No chance he’d let Mac hit waivers to have a shot at being claimed by those teams. The trade deadline has passed. Looks like Mac might be buried on the depth chart here soon behind the likes of Bailey Zappe and Will Grier. This from longtime Pats insider Tom Curran:
“Mac Jones is almost certainly going to sit, and will probably be dropped down to third string.
If I was a betting man, and I don’t have any intel on this — but Will Grier gets the reps to be the starter, and if he fails in that, then Zappe would start and Grier would be 2.”
Hey Siri, pull up Will Grier’s career stats in the NFL, please!
28-for-52 passing (53.8%)
228 yards (4.4 YPA)
0 TDs, 4 INTs
33.2 passer rating
Curran talks about some ethereal concept of maintaining “the culture.” I would say the Patriot Way/Belichick’s culture has pretty much fallen dead flat in the Patriots’ locker room.
The Hoodie handpicked Jones to be Tom Brady’s long-term successor with a first-round draft pick. Not only has Jones not really panned out, but Belichick hasn’t helped him a whole lot with building a good roster around him. Look at this sh*t:
That’s right. Zappe’s draft class yielded pretty much nothing. I don’t care about whatever gymnastics Belichick was playing on the NFL transaction wire. From a pure optics standpoint, cutting Zappe was a boneheaded move. Other teams could’ve claimed him, yet when Belichick released him, they all must’ve figured he had some sort of defect.
Seriously, when was the last time you saw a fourth-round QB get straight-up released before his second season? How low must Belichick’s opinion have been of Zappe to have axed him that fast? The young man actually played OK as a rookie when he was thrust into duty!
We’ve gone from Mac Jones leading the Patriots to the playoffs as a rookie to being potentially benched for the back half of Year 3 in favor of a guy in Grier who hasn’t played an actual down in the NFL since 2019, or Zappe. Did you happen to see what Zappe did in relief of Jones last week? Can I interest you in a quadruple-coverage pick to end the game?
On the heels of Jones and Zappe throwing two inexplicably awful interceptions to lose to the Colts in Germany, New England gets a merciful bye to figure things out. Whatever they do figure out the rest of the way, though, it’s too little, too late. They’re 2-8. Doomed for 2023. Rumors are flying that Belichick might move on to a new team.
The worst part? Even if Belichick keeps his job, it’ll be tough sledding the rest of the way since the QB he chose to lead the franchise into the next era may not even see the field. Worse? His teammates don’t want him to, per the Boston Herald‘s Andrew Callahan:
“After he was benched for a second time this season during a Week 5 loss to New Orleans, several members of the organization lost faith in Mac Jones. But now, after getting benched for a third time last Sunday in Germany, Jones’ support is vanishing.
“One team source estimated that at least 80% of the Patriots’ locker room is out on Jones. Another said the ‘vast majority’ of players are done with him. Both said the lack of belief spreads to both sides of the ball, with a shared sense that Jones’ worst mistakes negate the best efforts of his teammates.”
When was the last time you saw Rob Gronkowski publicly say something this blatant and negative about the Patriots? For me, never.
And there’s Gronk alluding to Cleveland as a potential destination. I just wonder if Belichick would grant Jones’ release at this point. He’s probably so pissed at him for playing such bad ball the past couple seasons. Personally, I’d be annoyed at Mac’s antics and mere existence in my building. Never would’ve drafted him in the first place, never mind in the first round.
It feels like Mac can play at a high level under the right circumstances. If Josh McDaniels didn’t get fired by the Raiders, I’d be shocked if that rat fink didn’t do some handshake deal with Belichick to secure Jones’ release and pick him up off waivers.
Alas. Good riddance, Josh! And soon, I think New England will be bidding adieu to Mac and Belichick. Based on his latest remarks, Robert Kraft is gonna want to nuke this thing to the moon by season’s end. I’m here for it. Time for a new Patriots era. Or, you know, keep leaning on Belichick and annually taking one potential contender off the board in the AFC for the next several years. That’s cool with me and pretty much any other football fan, too.
As for Mac Jones, get ready to hold that clipboard, buddy!