New England Patriots

Would this hypothetical Justin Fields trade idea make sense for Patriots?

Would you make this trade?

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The New England Patriots are one of the most fascinating teams in the 2024 NFL Draft.

They badly need a franchise quarterback. Lackluster play at the position was among the primary reasons why the franchise finished 4-13 at the bottom of the AFC standings this past season. Neither Mac Jones nor Bailey Zappe represent a good solution in the short or long term.

Luckily for the Patriots, who own the No. 3 pick in the first round, there are three quarterbacks worthy of being selected in the top three. USC's Caleb Williams is expected to go No. 1 overall, followed by UNC's Drake Maye and LSU's Jayden Daniels in some order.

If the Patriots view one of these three quarterbacks as a surefire star, then taking him is the smartest approach. But if not, it does make sense to explore trading down and adding a couple extra picks.

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One way to address the QB situation is acquiring Justin Fields from the Chicago Bears. The Bears own the No. 1 pick thanks to the Carolina Panthers. Chicago's own pick is No. 9, giving them a pair of top 10 selections. If the Bears take a QB at No. 1, then it wouldn't make sense to keep Fields.

What might a deal between the Patriots and Fields look like? NFL Network's Chad Reuter published his new 2024 NFL mock draft Monday morning. It includes a hypothetical Patriots-Bears trade that involves the following:

  • Patriots acquire: QB Justin Fields, No. 9 overall pick
  • Bears acquire: No. 3 overall pick, 2024 fourth-round pick, 2025 conditional pick

Is this a good deal for the Patriots?

The short answer is no.

The price to move up from No. 9 to No. 3 should be much more than Fields. A six-spot jump inside the top 10 is a major move. The former Ohio State star has a lot of potential, but there are still concerns over his passing ability and durability. Fields completed 61.4 percent of his pass attempts for 2,564 yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 13 games last season. He also ran for 657 yards and four touchdowns. Fields also is entering the final year of his rookie contract, so he'll need a potentially expensive extension soon. A rookie QB like Daniels or Maye would be under team control for five years.

If the Patriots are swapping picks with another team in Round 1, they should also get a future first-rounder in the trade.

Our insider Phil Perry released his second 2024 NFL mock draft earlier this month and proposed three trades.

The first one was the Patriots acquiring Fields from the Bears for a third-round pick (No. 68 overall). The second deal was trading the No. 3 pick to the Atlanta Falcons and getting No. 8 overall, a second-round pick (No. 43 overall) and a 2025 first-rounder. Perry had the Patriots selecting Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze with the No. 8 pick in his mock draft, giving them a Fields/Odunze combo entering the 2024 season. The third trade was dealing back into the first round at No. 16 overall and sending the Seattle Seahawks two second-round picks (Nos. 34 and 43).

Fields' value will be debated quite a bit in the coming weeks and months. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler provided some insight in a story published in early January.

"The consensus in an informal poll of league evaluators is that Fields would be worth a second- or third-round pick in a pre-draft trade," Fowler wrote. "When compared to former top-10 picks recently traded, that's better than Trey Lance, whom Dallas acquired from San Francisco for a fourth-round pick, but slightly worse than Sam Darnold, who, along with a sixth-round pick, went from the Jets to Carolina for second- and fourth-rounders."

There are many different ways for the Patriots to get a new quarterback for 2024. Overpaying to acquire Fields shouldn't be one of them.

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