What should Patriots do with Mac Jones' contract? Ex-NFL GM weighs in

Mac Jones

The stakes are high for the New England Patriots in 2023 -- particularly as it pertains to Mac Jones.

Jones led the Patriots to the postseason in 2021 while making the Pro Bowl as the most productive rookie quarterback in the NFL. Jones regressed significantly in 2022, however, thanks in large part to Bill Belichick's ill-advised decision to hand offensive play-calling duties to Matt Patricia.

So, which version of Jones will we see in Year 3: The quick thinker who beat out Cam Newton in training camp and immediately won over his teammates, or the erratic and temperamental player who appeared to let the dysfunction of 2022 get to him?

That's an important question as Jones enters the second-to-last year of his rookie contract. Former Patriots director of college scouting and longtime Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff joined Tom E. Curran on a new Patriots Talk Podcast from Super Bowl LVII Radio Row in Phoenix to examine the Patriots' dilemma with Jones from an executive's perspective.

Patriots Talk: Peter King, Thomas Dimitroff talk Mac, Brady and ranking Super Bowls | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"We talk about it every single day in NFL offices, whether you have (a No. 1 quarterback) or whether you don't, or whether you're thinking about trying to get a deuce behind your No. 1," Dimitroff told Curran. "We're always talking quarterback; it's just the way it is.


"As a former executive looking at this, I would say, you've got to first get (Jones) back in line and feel comfortable that he's going to be able to recover, have resiliency and continue to mature. I want to see consistency, and I need to see the trajectory this way (going up), not this (going up and down). That organization is not an (up-and-down) organization, right?

"I feel like New England, by trade and how everyone perceives it, it's just got elements of maturity and consistency to it, for the most part. And I think they need that from him if that's what they're going to continue to do. That's a big thing in my mind: consistency."

Perry: Scarnecchia shares first order of business for Adrian Klemm

Jones was anything but consistent in 2022, throwing for 382 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12 but failing to reach 200 passing yards in five other starts. The good news for Jones is that he now has a capable offensive coordinator in Bill O'Brien, whom Dimitroff believes can play a significant role in getting Jones back on track.

"I'm a big believer that the coach is so important (to the development of a quarterback) -- I'm talking about the coordinator," Dimitroff said. "Having people who have a really strong offensive mind around him and understanding offense and quarterbacks, I always think is really important."

If Jones can succeed under O'Brien, that could go a long way toward the Patriots determining that he's their QB of the future. But as Dimitroff noted, Jones will need to deliver results on a consistent basis to earn the Patriots' long-term trust.

To hear Dimitroff's full conversation with Curran as well as Curran's 1-on-1 with NBC Sports' Peter King (which features a great Tom Brady story), subscribe to the Patriots Talk Podcast or watch on YouTube below.