The New England Patriots reportedly are interested in adding a veteran quarterback in free agency.

The Athletic on Thursday reported the Patriots’ preference is to draft a quarterback No. 3 overall, but they have “explored” the free-agent options. reported a few hours later New England is “zeroing in” on a three-step plan that would land a franchise quarterback in the draft, a veteran in free agency, and mean Mac Jones gets traded. The Patriots will not rush a rookie to start in 2024, according to

With the organization’s mindset coming into focus, here are free-agent quarterbacks the Patriots could pursue:

Joe Flacco
The NFL Comeback Player of the Year could be the perfect fit for the Patriots.

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Flacco signed with the practice squad in Cleveland before taking the reigns as the starting QB following injuries. He won the first four games he started before dropping the 31-14 decision to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 18.

In five games with the Browns this past season, Flacco threw for 1,616 yards, 13 touchdowns and a 90.2 QB rating. He completed 123 passes on 204 attempts in his five starts.

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Flacco has ties to Patriots offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt when they guided the Browns to the playoffs in 2023. They made magic together in Cleveland, so it’s possible they could replicate it in New England.

Jacoby Brissett
Brissett has experience both with the Patriots and with Van Pelt. Brissett played his rookie season in New England in 2016 and spent the 2022 campaign under Van Pelt’s tutelage in Cleveland.

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The 31-year-old is 18-30 as a starter, but is well-respected as a backup and could help guide an incoming rookie.

Baker Mayfield
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB is coming off the best season of his career, completing 64.3% of his passes in 17 games for 4,044 yards and 28 touchdowns with a 94.6 quarterback rating. His bad throw percentage, 14.8%, was the lowest of his career with 81 bad throws compared to 411 on target passes.

Mayfield also has ties to New England through director of scouting Eliot Wolf, and Van Pelt. Both Wolf and Van Pelt were in Cleveland when the Browns drafted the Oklahoma product with the first overall pick in 2018.

Kirk Cousins
Before his season-ending Achilles injury, Cousins was in the middle of a strong season for the Minnesota Vikings.

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In eight games, Cousins completed 69.5% of his passes (216-of-311) for 2,331 yards and a 63.2 QR rating. He threw 18 touchdowns and five interceptions before he was shut down for the season.

One issue with Cousins is his age. At 35, he’s more than likely wanting to win now instead of helping the Patriots build for the future.

Ryan Tannehill
Like Cousins and Wilson, Tannehill could be a bridge starter for the Patriots’ future quarterback while they rebuild the franchise.

Tannehill only started eight games for the Titans last season, throwing 1,616 yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions.

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With a strong offensive line in front of him, Tannehill could provide the Patriots with the relief of not having to rush out their future QB or give Jones ample time to regain his form.

Featured image via Kevin R. Wexler/ USA TODAY NETWORK Images