Mac Jones and the New England Patriots' futures will largely depend on how the quarterback performs in Year 3 of his NFL career.
Jones enjoyed a strong rookie season but regressed during his sophomore campaign. That makes his third year a pivotal one as the Patriots must decide whether to pick up the fifth-year option by May 2024. Currently, Jones carries a salary cap hit of $ 4.25 million in 2023 and $ 4.95 million in 2024.
So, how should the Patriots proceed with their young signal-caller? Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed with former Green Bay Packers executive Andrew Brandt on a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.
Patriots Talk: Is the cap really "crap"? Andrew Brandt makes his case | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube
"For better or worse, I think his entire financial future has nothing to do with anything before now. It's all about this year," Brandt said. "For a player like that, it's all about a contract year. But if he gets to Year 4, there's no requirement the Patriots do a deal. People say he's going to be upset. Upset? He's got a year left and an option year. Like, the Patriots have the leverage. This is the Baker Mayfield model where they just said, 'We'll keep it going.' And for that matter, Lamar Jackson.
Curran: Revisiting Patriots' 2022 offseason as 2023 free agency looms
"It's heresy to think the Bengals would do that with (Joe) Burrow or the Chargers with (Justin) Herbert or the Eagles with (Jalen) Hurts, but those players are a different level. And the Patriots are known as being some pretty hard-ass negotiators, so this time next year they could say, 'Let's go another year.' Or another year and put the option on, then of course they have the tag ultimately after five years.
For the full discussion, listen to the podcast episode above.
Also discussed in the episode: Brandt explains why it’s overblown to think you can’t build a Super Bowl winner with a $ 40 million QB and what actually gets teams in trouble with the salary cap. Is having a QB on a rookie deal actually an overrated advantage when building a roster? Brandt breaks down the real issue with QB salaries right now. And is the cap really “crap” for big market teams?
Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube.