NFL rumors: Patriots in one one free agent quarterback, out on another

The Patriots could go a number of directions to replace Mac Jones this offseason.

Minnesota Vikings v New England Patriots
Minnesota Vikings v New England Patriots / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages

One way or another, the Jerod Mayo New England Patriots are going to be better at quarterback. With Mac Jones' time as their starter almost certainly done, New England is looking at not only quarterbacks coming out of college but potentially a few hitting free agency. While it makes the most sense for them to take a guy at No. 3 in the 2024 NFL Draft, there is a fit to be had in NFL free agency.

According to Doug Kyed of The Boston Herald, the Patriots are interested in Baker Mayfield. He is coming off his first Pro Bowl season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but only made $4 million in his first year with the team. Mayfield knows members of the Patriots staff like Eliot Wolf, Alex Van Pelt and TC McCartney from his time in Cleveland. He worked with Ben McAdoo and Pat Stewart in Carolina.

While the expectation is for Mayfield to return to Tampa Bay on a new deal, New England is a good fit for him because of how many friends he already has in the building, as well as the Patriots not having much stability at all at the quarterback position. Although Mayfield could work in Foxborough, it appears as though the Patriots are not interested in signing Kirk Cousins in his free agency this year.

He is coming off a torn Achilles, is much older than Mayfield and will be way more expensive to sign.

NFL rumors: Baker Mayfield could be a New England fit, not Kirk Cousins

I have had this thought percolating in mind for the last few weeks, but now is the time to unveil it. Mayfield is going to have a much bigger market in his free agency than Cousins will. For the factors listed above, it is Mayfield's time to get the bag, as opposed to Cousins grabbing another one. Both NFC quarterbacks will be signed very quickly and will start next year, but where they go is a mystery.

Of the two quarterbacks in question, Mayfield feels way more likely to stay put. This is because the Minnesota Vikings are in a great spot to draft a quarterback in the top-half of the first round. They are already in range to get either J.J. McCarthy out of Michigan or Bo Nix out of Oregon without having to likely trade up. Mayfield kind of works in Tampa Bay. Plus, the Buccaneers are not picking until later.

Other teams besides the Patriots and their current employers who could be interested in both quarterbacks include the Atlanta Falcons, the Las Vegas Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Atlanta does not draft a quarterback, or trade for Justin Fields, expect for either Cousins or Mayfield to lead the Dirty Birds out of the tunnel next year. Las Vegas could be in play, maybe even Pittsburgh?

For now, Mayfield seems to have a much stronger tie to the Patriots than most of us even realized.

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