Phil Perry

Patriots Mailbag: OC search intel, pondering a Fields trade and more

The Patriots face several franchise-altering decisions this offseason.

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It's already been an offseason of monumental change in New England, with Jerod Mayo representing the Patriots' first new head coach since 2000. But more change is on the way.

The Patriots still need an offensive coordinator and special teams coordinator. They have yet to announce an official general manager. And they're in the market for a new franchise quarterback, which may or may not come to them via the 2024 NFL Draft.

That's a lot of important decisions. As we wait for those decisions to unfold, let's tackle your latest questions in a brand-new Mailbag.

We'll see on the Nick Caley hire, Murph. And I'm not anticipating the team will name a general manager in the near future, so don't hold your breath.

Robert Kraft made mention of the fact that he will "appoint" someone to have final say on the roster before the time comes for decisions to be made. One would think that's the start of the new league year and free agency.

My expectation is that both Matt Groh and Eliot Wolf will have strong voices in making those decisions, along with head coach Jerod Mayo. Who has the hammer, though, if there are disagreements? That's a key question that I'm not sure they've answered to this point.

I think it's a variety of factors, Tanner.

Remember, Jerod Mayo's network isn't all that vast. He acknowledged to NBC Sports Boston in our 1-on-1 with him a few weeks ago that he would be relying on ownership's resources to help him focus on the right candidates for offensive coordinator. Part of the deliberate nature of this process has been due to the wide net cast in the hopes of finding a good match from personality, philosophical and schematic standpoints.

It's also worth pointing out, as it's been pointed out to me by offensive coaches with other teams, that this isn't the most attractive of jobs. It's a roster that is bereft of offensive talent, with a new head coach, with a murky picture on decision-making power in the front office. And it's a job in a city where the expectations are typically high, where the coaching staff will be scrutinized early and often for its performance after the Kraft family parted ways with Bill Belichick.

Put those factors together and I think that helps explain why it's taken some time to settle on a good fit.

I think the idea, QS, is to bring aboard someone whose preferred offensive system is one that is easily digestible for young players. That's probably one of the reasons why you've seen so many Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan assistants in the running for the Patriots offensive coordinator gig.

Those are systems that young players seemingly are able to adjust to relatively quickly coming from the college game, even though they aren't "college-ish" offenses.

Both McVay and Shanahan love to operate from under center. Both love to run the football. Both use a great deal of motion. Still, you've seen young quarterbacks like Houston's C.J. Stroud and Cincinnati's Joe Burrow adapt quickly to coaches who have similar West Coast roots.

I'm not ruling out a Josh McDaniels arrival in some way shape or form, particularly now that we know Belichick won't be in Atlanta this year.

Remember, McDaniels worked closely with Caley in New England -- both are John Carroll guys -- and so perhaps there's an opportunity to reunite the two in different roles.

Too much. But...   

I thought Charles Johnson of Yahoo Sports did a good job of trying to peg Justin Fields' value. A third-round pick doesn't seem all that far off.

If the Patriots don't like their quarterback options at No. 3 overall, there's a world in which they could acquire Fields instead, take a tackle and receiver -- in either order -- with their first two picks, and go from there.

The issue with trading for Fields is that he has just one year remaining on his contract. But if the Patriots feel as though he could be a long-term option until they find their quarterback of the future -- their version of what the Chiefs did with Alex Smith, for example -- it'd be worthwhile to spend the third-rounder on him.

Then perhaps they could land Marvin Harrison Jr. at No. 3 overall and Houston's Patrick Paul (who we had going to the Patriots with No. 34 overall in our first mock) in the second round and feel better about their offense. 

I could see it, Bob, as a matter of fact.

I think Bill Belichick's swings and misses on the personnel side of things fueled his departure in New England. The team needed a new voice, it seemed, from a coaching perspective as well.

But if there are talented rosters out there who've underperformed? I could see Belichick's voice -- and the discipline and accountability he'd require -- having a positive impact. 

I really like the idea of Jacoby Brissett along with a young quarterback as additions to the room in Foxboro.

Brissett has been in a variety of systems. He's thought to be an ultimate locker-room guy. He seems like an ideal veteran voice to slot alongside a rookie. 

If the 49ers offer the Patriots a fifth-round pick for Mac Jones on draft weekend... who says no?

I think it's a great fit. No better roster for Jones to go to in order to try to resuscitate his career. He may not start. But if he got an opportunity to play for one reason or another, my guess is it would look pretty good with that coaching staff and the talent in that offensive huddle.

Kyle Shanahan, you may recall, reportedly really liked Jones coming out of Alabama and considered taking him at No. 3 overall before settling on Trey Lance.

Road to the postseason, potentially... The only issue would be sinking real assets into Kirk Cousins, who likely isn't a long-term solution at the position. Between signing him and re-signing Mike Onwenu, that would take a significant chunk out of their financial resources this offseason.

Worth it if your aspirations are immediate improvement and if you don't believe in the quarterbacks in this year's draft. But not worth it if you feel you have the ability to add a young cornerstone piece at the game's most important position. 

Troy Brown has helped returners here for years. Not sure he'd be in the running to take on the overarching special-teams coach role, though.

We're going to stick with Prototypical Patriots for this year, Setti, since the people remaining in Foxboro are all Belichick assistants.

Might the Patriots have new prototypes -- especially offensively -- if they're changing schemes? Of course. But, for now, we'll roll with what they've rolled with for a long time. Then once it becomes clear they're looking for something different -- of if we hear between now and the draft they're looking for something different -- we can adjust. 

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