A Mac Jones trade should be on the Falcons’ radar

NFL: OCT 29 Patriots at Dolphins

Who will be under center for the Falcons in Week 1 of the 2024 campaign? The question that will dominate Atlanta’s offseason headlines might have an unlikely answer — Mac Jones.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the former first-round draft pick out of Alabama is a trade candidate and likely to play elsewhere in 2024.

“Even though Bill Belichick is gone, former first-round pick Mac Jones — who lost the starting role and ended up third string by the end of the 2023 season — is a trade candidate in the coming weeks and most likely will end up elsewhere for the 2024 season.”

Much speculation surrounds Justin Fields as a trade target, and rightfully so. He’s a Georgia native and if he can realize his full potential, he could be one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the game.

However, let me paint a different picture. If we look at the quarterbacks from the Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay coaching tree, which Zac Robinson hails from, they share more attributes with Mac Jones than Justin Fields.

Jared Goff, Brock Purdy, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Jimmy Garapolo, etc. were pocket passers who played within the system, on time, in rhythm, with anticipation, and most of all accuracy. It’s not to say Justin Fields can’t do those things, but he surely hasn’t at the NFL level to this point, whereas Mac Jones has.

For some reason, most NFL fans believe Mac Jones is at fault for all of the failures in New England. Might I remind you the greatest coach of all time was fired earlier this offseason? Former Falcons head coach candidate Bill Belichick is more to blame than Jones, in my opinion.

Let’s look at the entire picture. During his rookie year, the Alabama product led the Patriots to a 10-7 record, accounting for over 3,800 yards and 22 touchdowns on 67.6% passing en route to a Pro Bowl bid in an offense that isn’t too dissimilar to what Robinson is expected to run with the Falcons.

Following the 2021 campaign, everyone was crowning Mac Jones as the next Tom Brady, which was never fair. However, the 2022 campaign was filled with inconsistencies, some of which should fall at the feet of Jones, but I’m here again to remind you that MATT PATRICIA was his offensive coordinator and JOE JUDGE was his position coach.

 A year removed from Josh McDaniels calling plays, Bill Belichick tapped his former defensive coordinator to switch sides of the ball. A second-year quarterback never could’ve succeeded in those circumstances. Oh yeah, the Patriots’ leading receivers that year were Jakobi Meyers and Davante Parker.

Mac Jones played under similarly terrible circumstances in 2022 and 2023 as Justin Fields has during his time in Chicago, but everyone holds him to a different standard for some reason.

For the Falcons, Mac Jones would cost a lot less in terms of trade compensation and fits Zac Robinson’s expected scheme better than Fields. Jones showed an ability to run a similar offense during his rookie season under Josh McDaniels yet never had the kind of weapons the Falcons have in Atlanta.

Drake London would easily be the best receiver, Kyle Pitts would easily be the best tight end, and Bijan Robinson would easily be the best running back that Jones has played with during his pro career.

Nobody would question Kyle Shanahan if he chose to acquire Mac Jones, so they shouldn’t if the Falcons do with Zac Robinson. A lot of people wrote Baker Mayfield off before he ended up with Dave Canales in Tampa Bay. All he did was turn in a career year and lead the Buccaneers to the divisional round. A redemption story isn’t out of the question for Jones.

Terry Fontenot and Raheem Morris have a lot of options to weigh, and the No. 15 pick from the 2021 NFL draft should be in consideration.

Photographer: Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire
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