New England Patriots QB options in 2024 if Mac Jones fizzles out

Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images
Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images /

If New England Patriots QB Mac Jones does not shut the door on the QB situation in New England, the team could look elsewhere for the 2024 season.  Mac Jones had a very promising rookie season, which ended in the Patriots winning 10 games and earning a spot in the playoffs.

They got blown out by the Buffalo Bills, but nonetheless, it was an excellent season for a rookie QB.  Then, in year two, the regression came.  Some may say that it was due to Bill Belichick putting Matt Patricia and Joe Judge in charge of the offense, and I don’t think that’s wrong.

However, Mac Jones is entering a crucial third season in the NFL and the Pats could very easily move on from Jones and bring in a new signal-caller for 2024 and beyond if they wanted.  Let’s look at three options to replace Mac Jones.

New England Patriots QB options in ’24 if Mac Jones fizzles out

Kirk Cousins, 2024 free agent

If the Minnesota Vikings decide to let Kirk Cousins hit the market in 2024, he’ll definitely have some suitors.  One of those suitors could be the Patriots.  I think there are a couple of ways that Kirk Cousins can end up in New England.

If the team around Jones largely plays well and it’s clear that Jones was the weakness, they could pursue Cousins for a year or two to see if he could get New England over the hump.  Or, a different scenario that might be able to play out is if the Patriots bottom out in 2023, blow it up, and look to someone like Cousins as a bridge QB to pair with a high QB pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Ryan Tannehill, 2024 free agent

The same argument I just made for Kirk Cousins can be made for Ryan Tannehill.  They’re in the same tier of QB, but Cousins is better.  Tannehill would be a cheaper, more mobile option, and perhaps the Patriots would rather pursue Tannehill for whatever reason.

Tannehill is in an interesting situation in Tennessee.  The Titans are clearly redoing their roster but it doesn’t look like they’re embracing the full rebuild, yet.  Ryan Tannehill may not even finish the season in Tennessee.  He could be a legitimate trade deadline target if the Titans want to give Will Levis the reigns at some point in 2023.

A first-round QB in the 2024 NFL Draft

What teams have done in the recent past is use a high draft pick on a QB and start them immediately.  The Arizona Cardinals did it with Kyler Murray.  The Cincinnati Bengals did it with Joe Burrow, and the Jacksonville Jaguars did it with Trevor Lawrence.

Both the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans look poised to do the same thing as well with Bryce Young and CJ Stroud.  The Patriots might be one of the next teams to operate this way as well if the team bottoms out in the 2023 season.

It could be a very lean period for the team if the QB is a slow learner or even a total bust.

There could be countless other options to play QB for the Patriots in 2024, but I think these are the three most likely options if Mac Jones is not one.