Should a Mac Jones-Trey Lance swap be considered amid trade rumors?


The New England Patriots' offseason just got a lot more interesting.

Mike Florio's report Tuesday that Bill Belichick has shopped Patriots quarterback Mac Jones to "several teams" has opened up plenty of speculation. Would the Patriots really trade their 2021 first-round pick? If so, where would Jones end up? And what could New England get in return?

While discussing his report on an emergency edition of Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast, Florio threw out an interesting hypothetical: Jones to the San Francisco 49ers in return for fellow 2021 first-rounder Trey Lance.

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"How about Mac Jones for Trey Lance? Straight up. Wouldn't that be something?" Florio told Curran and co-host Phil Perry.

Florio initially said he was kidding, then noted the idea makes some sense on paper considering 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan nearly took Jones over Lance after trading up to the No. 3 pick in 2021.

"I know (Chris) Simms believed when they did the trade that Jones was the guy and that Shanahan got talked out of it, just like he got talked out of waiting for Kirk Cousins and talked into Jimmy Garoppolo. (Shanahan) got talked out of Mac Jones and talked into Trey Lance," Florio said.

"Why not Trey Lance for Mac Jones? I don't know if the Patriots would want Trey Lance, but when you look at the struggles Bill has had against mobile quarterbacks as a defensive coach, why wouldn't you want to try to get the most you could out of a quarterback with real mobility?"

Lance is very much an unknown at the NFL level with just eight appearances and four starts through two seasons. He failed to beat out Jimmy Garoppolo for San Francisco's starting QB job as a rookie, then tore his ACL in Week 2 of the 2022 campaign after passing for 164 yards with zero touchdowns and an interception in Week 1.

Lance was a dynamic dual-threat QB in college, however, so perhaps Belichick would view the 22-year-old as having more upside than Jones after a difficult 2022 season in New England.

Florio: Mac Jones' Patriots future is 'tenuous' amid trade report

Florio noted the Jones-Lance trade discussion is a pure hypothetical that would require Belichick getting approval from team owner Robert Kraft -- who has said openly on several occasions that he's a big fan of Jones. At the very least, however, it's a fascinating thought-starter.

"If Belichick is exploring and still willing and motivated to try to pull this off, then why wouldn't the 49ers be in the mix?" Florio said. "Because Brock Purdy's elbow is still messed up. He's had surgery and we don't know when he's going to be ready to go.

"Now, all of this presupposes that Robert Kraft would okay a trade of Mac Jones. I mean, this gets Shakespearean very quickly and it has shades of the whole Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft stuff that Seth Wickersham reported about so thoroughly several years ago.

"There may be some real palace intrigue going on here where Robert Kraft says, 'Yeah, Bill Belichick can run the team however he sees fit.' But if push comes to shove, is Robert Kraft going to sign off on a trade of Mac Jones?"

To hear more from Florio on where Jones stands with the Patriots how the NFL Draft could impact any potential trade, subscribe to the Patriots Talk Podcast or watch on YouTube below.

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