Ex-Patriot Cautions Against Trading Mac Jones Amid Rumors

'Be careful what you wish for'


Apr 5, 2023

One former Patriots captain believes trading Mac Jones would be a mistake.

Jason McCourty, who played three seasons in New England from 2018-20, addressed the trade rumors surrounding Jones during Wednesday’s episode of NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.”

ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio a day earlier reported Patriots head coach Bill Belichick “has shopped Jones to multiple teams” this offseason. Multiple outlets subsequently pushed back on the characterization of that report.

McCourty, whose Patriots tenure ended before Jones was drafted in 2021, explained why he wouldn’t move on from the young quarterback at this stage. Jones, he noted, showed great promise as a rookie before regressing last season under two inexperienced offensive coaches in Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.

“I love Joe Judge and I love Matt Patricia,” McCourty said. “They’re two really good football coaches. But as they take over on offense, and they were kind of co-coordinators, quarterback coaches, positions that they hadn’t held, that’s not fair to Mac Jones. And we’ve heard Robert Kraft come out as the owner and say he really likes Mac Jones, and he said (the Patriots) didn’t do him any favors in his second year.

“So I think these rumblings and everything we’re hearing, we need to slow down. Let’s see what Mac Jones does in Year 3 with a guy like (new offensive coordinator) Bill O’Brien coming back who has a ton of experience, a ton of success in the NFL, in the college ranks, and let’s see what Mac is able to do in his third year as quarterback for the New England Patriots. Let’s see how he overcomes all this adversity of all the conversations being had and all of these different things.

“But be careful what you wish for in hopes of ‘there’s something better on the other side,’ that the grass is greener, because Mac was really good in his rookie year. Let’s see what he can become.”

Jones was the Offensive Rookie of the Year runner-up while working with Josh McDaniels in 2021. His handling of the failed Patricia/Judge experiment in Year 2 — from on-field outbursts to seeking advice from outside the organization — reportedly sparked tension with Belichick that continues to simmer.

There’s reason to believe Jones can return to form this season with the experienced O’Brien now in charge of the offense, but Belichick has passed up every opportunity to endorse him as the Patriots’ starter. Asked last week whether Jones will start if healthy, the coach replied: “Everybody will get a chance to play, and we’ll play the best players,” suggesting Jones will need to win the job in a competition with backup Bailey Zappe.

Thumbnail photo via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, head coach Bill Belichick
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