Most agree that Mac Jones and the New England Patriots need a breakup. Their relationship is toxic and probably shouldn’t continue.

But don’t be surprised if the embattled quarterback sticks around for another season.

MassLive’s Mark Daniels on Monday published a lengthy piece that details Jones’ regression from promising rookie to unplayable third-year pro. It rightly places most of the blame at the feet of Bill Belichick, who now is searching for a new job.

Daniels reported that with Jerod Mayo now in charge, there’s at least some chance of Jones returning for the Patriots in 2024.

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“The relationship between Belichick and Jones ended so poorly that sources all but guaranteed Jones wouldn’t be back with the Patriots had Belichick returned,” Daniels wrote. “With Jerod Mayo now in charge, the door isn’t shut, sources agreed.”

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Daniels added that New England doesn’t plan to pick up Jones’ fifth-year option, and that it’s open to trading the 2021 first-rounder while looking for an upgrade at quarterback. None of that information should come as a surprise.

However, if the Patriots aren’t sold on selecting a quarterback with the third pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, they could decide to target receiver or offensive tackle before picking a QB in the later rounds. They also could pursue a veteran on the free agent market. In either case, Jones seemingly could return as a backup or bridge starter.

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New England first must decide whether Jones is salvageable. If the Patriots believe Jones can recapture his rookie-season form, they just might run it back with a player whom most of the fanbase would rather see elsewhere.

Featured image via Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images