We still don't know who the Patriots' starting quarterback will be for the regular season opener, but Mac Jones finds himself in the conversation for Offensive Rookie Of The Year, checking in with the fifth-best odds at +800 on PointsBet.
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Jones' odds actually took a hit from +800 to +1100 after the Patriots drafted him, but he's since jumped back up to 8-to-1 as New England gets set for its final preseason game. Whether or not Jones is the starter Week 1 vs. Miami will likely have a strong impact on his chances of winning Offensive ROY.
Over the last decade, five quarterbacks have won the award and all five played at least 15 games, including 2020 winner Justin Herbert. If Cam Newton starts the season? It could be a few weeks until we see Jones. Baker Mayfield finished second to running back Saquon Barkley in 2018 after making 13 starts.
Even though Jones joins a team that could find itself in the playoffs (-110 to make playoffs, -110 to miss playoffs on PointsBet), winning games hasn't really mattered for ROYs. Only four of the last ten played for winning teams, including two of the five QBs (Dak Prescott in 2016 and Robert Griffin III in 2012).
Winning games could give an edge to whoever takes home the hardware, but putting up numbers seems to be the easier route. If he plays, Jones could be leading an offense that relies heavily on its ground game and is aided by a defense that's expected to keep opponents off the board. (The Patriots are +1600 for fewest points conceded in 2021, tied for 7th best odds).
It's early in the process, but at this point the 2021 quarterback class has looked impressive. It might not be as strong as what we saw in 2012, when Griffin edged out Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. All three made strong cases for ROY, leading their teams to the playoffs while putting up good numbers.
Let's take a look at the favorites...
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars (+350)
The Jaguars have already named Lawrence their Week 1 starter, which was expected after they grabbed him with the first overall pick back in late April. Lawrence opened at +250 prior to the draft.
Zach Wilson, New York Jets (+500)
Wilson has been the presumed starter for the Jets since the off-season. He was actually +800 after being drafted by New York, but has made a steady climb since then.
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears (+700)
Matt Nagy has said that Andy Dalton will be the Bears starter in the season opener. But it only feels like a matter of time before the 11th overall pick finds his way onto the field. The only question is whether or not he'll get the opportunity to put up comparable numbers to those getting the nod out of the gate.
Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers (+750)
The 49ers paid a premium to jump up in the draft and nab Lance with the third overall pick. Say what you want about Jimmy Garoppolo, but Lance will have to overtake a QB who led San Francisco into the Super Bowl just two years ago. Kyle Shanahan has yet to declare a starter, but Jimmy G. is expected to be the guy.
Mac Jones, New England Patriots (+800)
Again, much of the value in targeting Jones depends on whether or not he's the starter in Week 1. For what it's worth, Mac was +900 a week ago, so he's made a slight jump.
Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers (+800)
The former Alabama running back has the best odds of any non-QB. He was +1600 prior to the draft, jumped to +1400 after being selected by the Steelers and has made a steady climb since then.