New England Patriots

Mac Jones is inactive for what could be his final game with Patriots

Jones is the emergency QB for Sunday's season finale.

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We might have already seen Mac Jones' final snap as a quarterback for the New England Patriots.

The third-year QB was officially listed among the inactives for the Patriots' Week 18 regular season finale against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. Jones also is the emergency QB, so the only way he could see the field Sunday is if both Bailey Zappe and Nathan Rourke get injured and can't play.

Jones was benched at halftime of the Patriots' Week 12 game against the New York Giants. It was his fourth benching of the season. He has not played since that game. Backup quarterback Bailey Zappe has started the last five games, and the Patriots have a 2-3 record during that span.

Zappe will make a sixth straight start Sunday, while Rourke will be his backup.

The Patriots have to determine in the offseason whether to pick up the fifth-year option in Jones' contract. Even if they don't want to keep him for the 2024 season, the team could exercise the option and then trade him. Our Phil Perry suggested Sunday on Patriots Pregame Live that Jones would be open to a trade elsewhere.

"Based on people who are familiar with his thinking, he's in a good place right now, because he is comfortable with the idea of, if the team decides, parting ways with (him)," Perry said. "I think it was his dream to be here, to have Tom Brady's old job and to play for the New England Patriots and to start for the New England Patriots. The way things have gone, I think he has opened up to other opportunities."

Jones struggled mightily in 2023. He threw for 2,120 yards with 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 11 games. The Patriots won just two of the games he started. So, a fresh start might be in the best interest of both Jones and the team.

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