April 13, 2024

The New England Patriots will have a busy offseason as they begin a new era, one in which coach Bill Belichick will not be on the sidelines or in the front office making behind-the-scenes decisions. Instead, new coach Jerod Mayo will seek to guide the Patriots through what appears to be the start of a reconstruction.

Despite popular assumption, the Patriots will begin their projected rebuild by selecting their next franchise quarterback with the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft. According to Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd, New England should trade that choice as part of a blockbuster deal to get current Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson.

“What does New England severely need? “A playmaker,” Cowherd stated on Monday. “I’ll offer you next year’s [first-round pick] and Justin Jefferson to move from 11 to 3, because they already have Jordan Addison and the tight end [T.J. Hockenson] they want. They have skilled players. Next year’s one, and Justin Jefferson will move up to the third place to grab your quarterback. At least one Boston-area media outlet has described this as “outlandish.” But let’s investigate…

THE TRADE

Vikings receive: Patriots’ 2024 first-rounder (No. 3 overall) Patriots receive: Justin Jefferson, Vikings’ 2024 first-round pick (No. 11), Vikings’ 2025 first-round pick

Cowherd is correct in this regard: the Patriots clearly have a need for playmakers. JuJu Smith-Schuster’s high-profile deal last offseason did not go as planned. Smith-Schuster was an afterthought in the Patriots offense, not a replacement for Jakobi Meyers.

But the Patriots need a franchise quarterback. Last season’s QB carousel had a significant role in the catastrophic 3-14 season. Mac Jones, a once-promising first-round choice, was depleted of confidence.

 

Justin Jefferson - Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver - ESPN

 

While Jones’ backup, Bailey Zappe, gave the Patriots hope late in the season, leading them to two of their four victories, does it make sense to stick with the former fourth-round pick for the entire season as the starter? And then there’s the question of how much better this NFL-worst offense will be in 2024 if Jefferson is added but no quarterback is available.

Could New England sign a proven starter, such as JJ’s current QB, Kirk Cousins? Maybe. But…

While there is chatter of Cousins leaving, there is no indication that the Vikings want to move Jefferson, their best player on a cheap rookie contract. Cowherd’s idea appears to be inspired by a recent story from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, which states that the Vikings are aiming to move up in the draft to select their next quarterback. That might be correct. However, we doubt it is worth giving up Jefferson to get there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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