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It's Time We Had a Family Meeting to Discuss What to Do With Mac Jones

Chris Unger. Getty Images.

Moments like this are never easy. This is an emotional time. Difficult decisions have to be made. We have to put aside our feelings, weigh all our options, make some hard choices, and do what is ultimately in the best interests of all of us. 

Listen, I love Mac Jones as much as anybody. I have ever since we first brought him home. It's important to me that you understand that he's been a part of our family, and it's hard for me to talk about this. But he's been suffering. We're all suffering. And we have to do what's right. Whether that's keeping him and trying to make him better. Or sending him off to go live somewhere else where they can take care of him. Or just putting him down humanely. This is why I've gathered you all together. 

Now, I couldn't help but notice your reaction when I mentioned keeping Mac. I know that's not the consensus opinion. But there are people who are saying we should. Who think he not only deserves a chance to stay on the roster, but to start. Who believe we can still build around him. At least one member of this family. And he gets a vote:

Brian Hoyer: 

“I’m going to stick up for my guy, Mac. I know he’s kind of gotten a raw deal the past few years. … [B]eing a quarterback guy like myself and looking at a guy like Marvin Harrison Jr. — you pair him up. …

“I know what Mac’s capable of. I witnessed it his rookie year. I don’t know if there’s been a receiver that’s come out in recent times that’s more prepared. … You take that any day.”

That seems far-fetched to me. And by Hoyer's own admission, he's not exactly neutral on the topic. But he thinks Jones is salvageable; he just needs talent around him. 

Still, he's not taking into account the damage that has already been done. Consider this comment from Tom E. Curran about the question of Jone's redeemability (cued up to the 7:13 mark):

“The leadership aspect was difficult for most people in the organization to swallow, despite the bad situation that most people agree he was put in, coach-wise, I think his acting out, really soured—not completely—but really soured the organization on whether or not they can see him as a leader all the time. And I think it might be best if they move on from each other, from both sides. 

“But, in a vacuum, if you look at it, you say, he’s a kid on the fourth year of his rookie contract, it’s manageable. We’ve seen him have good games in the NFL, why would we move on from him?”

If you'll allow me, like Curran, to kind of Both Sides this argument, these points are well taken. I have no doubt Jones' approval rating among some people in the building at One Patriots Place is somewhere between Eric Mangini and the reporter who stole Tom Brady's jersey out of the Super Bowl locker room. But it's likely that the guy who was most cheesed off by Jones calling Alabama to vent about his frustration Matt Patricia in 2022 and bitched to the Jets this year is the coach/GM/Dark Lord of the Sith whom they just fired. What's the point of putting new people in charge if not to give guys a clean slate? To try to recover some distressed assets and make them valuable again? Besides, he is on the last year of his rookie deal, so he's affordable. I mean, no one is under the delusion they'll pick up his option for 2025. So keeping him around makes financial sense, if nothing else.

But that begs the question of what you then do if Jones melts down like the emotional birthday candle we saw at times last year? He might be like the one who led the comeback win over Buffalo. But if he's another version of the one who got pulled from four games and was benched for the final month, it's going to be one ugly fooking start to a new regime that desperately needs to win public confidence. 

And this needs to be decided in the next few weeks. During the time the quarterback market starts getting in motion, if not sooner. You can't afford to be stuck with his card in your hand when the other teams looking to add a veteran call "Gin." (I think that metaphor works, but don't hold me to it.) Which brings us to the next option. 

If sending Jones off to go live on a farm someplace where he can run around an be happy is the plan, what can we get for him? The answers vary. But they're all around the same range. Just between "Something" and "Not Much."

Boston Herald - “Three front-office executives told the Herald quarterback Mac Jones should fetch around a fifth-round pick in trade talks with other teams. Another AFC evaluator suggested the Patriots might be lucky to land a sixth-rounder. Jones is reportedly expected to be traded this offseason, as the team plans to upgrade its quarterbacks room."

Which strikes me as kind of low. Given that the Cowboys gave the Niners a 4th rounder for Trey Lance who's never accomplished a bloody thing in the league, you'd think a guy who has 10 times the number of career starts Lance has and once took his team to the playoffs would return at least that. But ironically, Lance has the added benefit of being an unknown. He's a mystery box, whereas the perception is that the question of what Jones is has been asked and answered. And it's not very much. 

For what it's worth, there's been internet chatter about Seattle being interested. But a lot of it is coming from those weird fake rumor X accounts with 11 followers that exist for reasons no one can explain. And Seahawks fan sites are extra salty about the idea:

So nobody knows. If I had to make a choice, and I've spent a thousand words painting myself into this rhetorical corner so I do have to, there's no way they keep Jones to build around him. That idea is DOA everywhere but in Brian Hoyer's head. And while the idea of keeping him as a backup just because he's affordable and might be fixed with (yet another) new offensive coordinator is tempting, the fact he's got one year left of his rookie deal actually makes him more attractive trade bait. The kind of low risk/high upside player already solid teams like to pick up to give them depth. I'd like a 4th rounder like Dallas gave up for Lance, but we can't be choosers on this one. The Pats simply don't have the leverage. They're motivated sellers. So a Round 5 pick feels like a win at this point. Take it if you can get it. And hope we never have to deal with a situation like this ever again. 

Thanks for listening. Good talk, Russ.