Latest On Patriots’ QB Plans

MARCH 1: Providing a rebuttal to the MassLive report, Andrew Callahan and Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald write that no multi-step plan has been agreed upon and communicated throughout the Patriots’ organization. Nevertheless, they corroborate the overwhelming expectation around the league that New England will keep the No. 3 pick and use it on a quarterback of the future. The team’s actions aside from taking that route will of course be interesting to follow.

FEBRUARY 29: With a new regime in place and the opportunity to add a franchise passer in the draft, the Patriots will be a team to watch closely as the offseason unfolds. Trading out of the No. 3 slot remains a possibility, of course, but New England could favor remaining near the top of the board and adding one of the top signal-callers in the 2024 class.

The Patriots have “explored their options” with respect to free agent quarterbacks, Chad Graff and Jeff Howe of The Athletic report (subscription required). It remains the team’s preference, however, to make a long-term investment at the position through the draft, they add. Caleb Williams is likely to go first overall (provided the Bears move on from Justin Fields), which will leave the Commanders and Patriots with Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels to choose from in the second and third slots.

The Athletic report confirms Eliot Wolf now in charge of roster decisions – values QB traits which align with Maye and Daniels. It adds that the second tier of passers in this year’s class (J.J. McCarthy, Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr.) could each be off the board by the next time New England picks at 34th overall. That could provide further incentive to remain at No. 3 and take the top available signal-caller.

Providing further detail on the subject, MassLive’s Karen Guregian and Chris Mason report the Patriots have a three-step plan in place at the QB spot. They corroborate that the first of those steps is selecting a passer third overall, although the second phase involves signing a veteran in free agency. The addition of a bridge option like Gardner Minshew, Jacoby Brissett or Ryan Tannehill would allow the newly-drafted rookie to begin his career on the sidelines. The Packers (with whom Wolf spent considerable time prior to his Patriots tenure) have allowed first-round quarterbacks to sit behind established starters in the case of both Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love, though New England’s situation will of course be different if an experienced option arrives via free agency.

With respect to Mac Jones, the Athletic report confirms a trade is seen around the league as something which would represent the best outcome for both team and player. The former first-rounder has struggled over the past two seasons, and moving on would allow him to attempt to re-build his value in a new environment. Guregian and Mason note a Jones trade is indeed the final step in the Patriots’ plan for the offseason.

After bottoming out during Bill Belichick‘s final season at the helm of the franchise, the Patriots have a number of other roster holes to consider filling in free agency and the draft. Seen as being much more than one quarterback away from contention, a move down the board would yield extra draft capital and likely allow for an addition at the receiver or tackle spot. If the team’s evaluation of Maye and Daniels checks out in the coming weeks, though, it would come as no surprise if one of them ultimately became New England’s top option.

Belichick’s evaluation of the 2024 class produced an affinity for Daniels, NFL Network’s Bridget Condon reports (video link). While that is essentially a moot point with Wolf and new head coach Jerod Mayo now tasked with overseeing New England’s rebuild, it will be interesting to see if their examination of the top prospects yields a similar conclusion. In any case, the Patriots remain on track to have at least one new face in the QB room in 2024.

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