Looking back on the Lovecraftian horror that was unleashed back on St. Patrick's Day of 2020 and has endured to some extent or another ever since, there was one small consolation. Which was that, if nothing else, it was over. All the drama, the intrigue, the anonymous sources, the ESPN exposes, the worrying, the body language reading, a coach standing at OTAs being asked questions about his quarterback not being there, refusing to answer as the assembled media walked away … that was all a thing of the past.
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were that couple who drag everyone into their tempestuousness, and while you'd rather have seen them work it out rather than break up, you took some comfort in knowing that at the very least, they'd move on and find someone new. And they did. With degrees of success that differed very much.
Until 2021. Then it appeared that Belichick found his next Mr. Right. A rookie QB capable of rising to big occasions. Who didn't find the bright lights of Sunday Night Football against Brady too hot for him. Who beat out a former MVP for the starting job, rebounded quickly from rookie mistakes, earned the respect of the veterans around him, won 10 games, made a Pro Bowl, and led his team to the playoffs.
Then 2022 happened. Then this, from yesterday:
And now, this latest, freshest hell:
Source - Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Belichick has shopped Jones to multiple teams during the 2023 offseason.
The full list of potential destinations isn’t known. The teams mentioned as potential destinations were the Raiders, Texans, Buccaneers, and Commanders.
Obviously, a trade hasn’t occurred yet. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. A team hoping to draft a quarterback could pivot to Jones, if that team doesn’t get the guy it wants. …
Complicating the situation is the fact that owner Robert Kraft seems to be a big fan of Mac Jones.
“I’m a big fan of Mac,” Kraft told reporters last week. …
While Kraft continues to defer to Belichick when it comes to running “my football team,” Kraft may not be thrilled about the prospect of parting ways with Jones.
So now we're not only back to this, we're doubling down on it? The last battle was fought over a massage therapist with offbeat methods for treating athletes who overstepped his bounds when it came to giving medical advice to players. And the Pliability War that ensued raged for years and came at a terrible cost in blood and treasure. And ultimately, brought about the end of the Dynasty.
Or hopefully just a pause. Because Mac Jones the rookie seemed like he was just the right man to step into Brady's mighty shoes, given enough time to develop. But assuming this anonymous source is correct, Belichick disagrees. If you feel you have that guy, you grapple him to your soul with hoops of steel, not give Martin Mayhew in DC a buzz and see if he's got any interest.
So what we've got here are several possibilities, none of which are preferable to having the quarterback you drafted 15th overall (the third highest pick of the Belichick Epoch) be The Anointed One:
First, is that the reports that the staff is really that high on Bailey Zappe are, implausible as it sounds, true:
Next, that Belichick has no faith that Jones' career trajectory is going to go up the way it looked during his rookie season. Which makes little to no sense. Because it would mean that none of last year's debacle is on the offensive coaching staff; it's all on the QB. And if that were the case, why is Matt Patricia out looking for a job while Joe Judge is back overseeing special teams? As I've said repeatedly, Bill O'Brien's return to the sidelines is proof positive that the organization believes in Jones, and feel he was put in an impossible situation last year.
The last scenario is the most troublesome. That would be the one PFF is implying: That Mr. Kraft wants Jones but Belichick doesn't. And the two are squaring off in a power struggle over him. Where he is, not a pawn, but maybe the guy on the "Operation" table with the Wrenched Ankle and the Butterflies in the Stomach, and whichever one of the bosses lights up his nose first loses.
This one sounds craziest, just because Belichick and RKK have never seemed at odds over personnel moves before. After all, GM Bill practically started his career here benching a healthy Drew Bledsoe and then trading him within the division at a time when he had not only just signed the biggest deal in NFL history, but was considered the son the Krafts never had. A couple of year later he was releasing Lawyer Milloy. Letting Hall of Famers like Ty Law and Richard Seymour go. Throwing Mike Vrabel in on a trade to Kansas City. Dumping Randy Moss at the trading deadline. Trading Jimmy Garoppolo. And on and on. It's hard to reckon that Mac Jones would be the one ownership would decide is a bridge too far, if the football ops people make a case he's not really the Chosen One. (The way I assume he is.) And frankly, both those scenarios sound ridiculous given how dysfunctional the play calling was all last year.
But then again, there's nothing new about the noise around this franchise sounding ridiculous. We've gotten used to it by now. And there's always the possibility this is being put out there just to send the signal that no one is untouchable on this team. Which has always been the case. Let Jones know he's expendable. If he can handle the pressure that comes with that knowledge, he's your guy. If he can't, he was never going to be. That would be the best of all the scenarios. Next to the one where this anonymous source shuts the fuck up for a while and gives us a few days of peace around here. Enough is enough already.