The New England Patriots have a golden opportunity to draft their quarterback of the future, and the only reason to forsake that goal is if an offer of a lifetime is presented to them.

Minnesota seemed to be gathering resources for that potential offer when it acquired the Nos. 23 and 232 overall picks in exchange for 42 and 188 in this year’s NFL draft. The Vikings now control the Nos. 11 and 23 picks in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

J.J. McCarthy might be available at No. 11, but the Vikings could offer a deal similar to what the San Francisco 49ers offered to the Miami Dolphins for the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

De factor general manager and director of scouting Eliot Wolf reportedly wants to acquire as many resources as possible, and a trade down would do just that for a team that has multiple needs. However, the signing of Jacoby Brissett signals New England will draft a quarterback with the third pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, and it’s an opportunity the Patriots might not have again.

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It’s also the correct path. Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye are expected to be franchise difference-makers. Maye might have more questions given how Chris Simms and Dan Orlovsky view the North Carolina product, but Field Yates was confident he could be the franchise guy for the Patriots if he’s selected at No. 3.

But there’s only one reason why New England should entertain an offer from Minnesota to trade down: Justin Jefferson.

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The All-Pro wide receiver enters the final year of his contract, and he’s expected to be paid like the top wideout in the NFL that he’s displayed in his four seasons with the Vikings. Minnesota reportedly does not plan on trading Jefferson, but if general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is interested in tearing everything down after Kirk Cousins left for the Atlanta Falcons, he might pull the trigger and start over. The Vikings could decide to start anew with a rookie quarterback, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson and a late-round rookie wideout. The Patriots could take a flier on someone like Spencer Rattler, and Jefferson has proven he can produce with anyone under center.

Is this a silly idea? Yes, but so is trading down when you have a franchise quarterback staring at you. Two or three first-round picks sound great. They could give you a franchise quarterback, or you can just draft either Daniels or Maye, especially if you already have a high opinion of them.

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Jefferson has proven to be one of the most valuable non-quarterbacks in the NFL, and he’s the type of player the Patriots could afford and would lessen threats of a riot at One Patriot Place if you traded the third overall pick.

Even though the Patriots haven’t done a whole lot of interesting things during the first week of free agency, it does seem clear Wolf is hinging on the draft as a barometer for success, and that should start with taking a quarterback with the No. 3 pick.

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