The New England Patriots haven't been what they once were since banking on the 2021 first-round pick to replace Tom Brady. After going 10-7 in his rookie season as the starting quarterback, Mac Jones has been 7-11 since.
For the second time in his career, the former Alabama QB was benched in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys. After throwing two interceptions and fumbling the football, Bill Belichick decided to send Bailey Zappe in.
After a great rookie season, many Patriots fans were hoping Jones could become Brady's replacement. Now in his third season, the question marks are starting to surround the 25-year-old QB.
New Offensive Coordinator Bill O'Brien was brought in to help Jones fix his problems, but he has shown multiple times this season that he just isn't that good. New England hasn't won a playoff game since 2019, and it doesn't look like Jones is the guy who's going to end that drought.
If the Patriots want to start winning again, maybe it is time to move on from Jones. If Zappe doesn't steal the show out of nowhere, then Belichick should consider trading for these three QBs.
3. Patriots replacements for Mac Jones: Gardner Minshew
The Indianapolis Colts backup QB might just be a capable starter. Whenever he is on the field, NFL fans always make sure to watch. The 27-year-old has thrown for 46 career touchdowns, while only throwing 15 interceptions.
Minshew is very good at protecting the football, and he is not afraid to extend the play out of the pocket. If allowed to play for Belichick, who knows what the QB could do? He has never actually been given a legit shot, as the Jacksonville Jaguars tanked for Trevor Lawrence in the 2020 season.
In that same season though, Minshew still managed to complete over 66% of his passes, along with 16 passing touchdowns and only five interceptions in eight starts. In the Patriots system, he could have the potential to flourish.
In Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens, Anthony Richardson was out with a concussion, which allowed Minshew to start. He was able to complete over 61% of his passes and throw for a touchdown to hand the Ravens their only loss of the season.
Now that Richardson is back healthy, the Colts could consider moving their backup for the right price. If the Patriots feel like they have a good enough team to make the postseason, then they should consider trading for Minshew.
2. Patriots replacements for Mac Jones: Andy Dalton
In Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks, Andy Dalton was starting in place of an injured Bryce Young. The Carolina Panthers ended up losing, but the veteran QB still threw for over 360 yards, along with two touchdowns.
As a starting QB, the 35-year-old has a record of 83-78-2. With Bryce Young back from an ankle injury, Carolina could consider moving the veteran QB. Especially considering his comments over the offseason when he stated "I view myself as a starter in this league."
If Dalton still feels the same way, then he could have an opportunity to start in New England. In 14 starts last season with the New Orleans Saints, he completed over 66% of his passes. He also threw 18 passing touchdowns, while only throwing 9 interceptions.
He isn't a flashy option, but Dalton certainly could be a reliable one. If the Patriots are truly done with Jones, then maybe the veteran QB could be the perfect placeholder for the time being.
1. Patriots replacements for Mac Jones: Jimmy Garoppolo
After signing a three-year, $72.75 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason, it seems unrealistic that this would happen. In today's NFL though, you never know what can occur. Especially considering the ties the history of the two sides do have.
Everyone remembers when Belichick wanted Garoppolo to be Brady's successor, but he was forced to move on from him. If former Patriots OC Josh McDaniels feels like his starting QB might not work out, then Belichick might consider calling.
As the other two options seem more likely, this one would be the most entertaining for sure. Garoppolo knows how to win in New England, as he was a part of two Super Bowl seasons there. The former Patriots QB would be a major upgrade for Belichick's team, as he has a career record as a starter of 41-19.
There have been rumors in the past of the Raiders being interested in trading for Jones. If a swap were to occur between the two quarterbacks, then it would send shock waves around the NFL world.