Rob Gronkowski: Mac Jones should ask for Patriots release

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By Samantha Rose

The 2023 NFL season has been rough on the eyes for Mac Jones and the New England Patriots. 

While the quarterback’s future in Foxborough could be in doubt, could the best option for both sides ultimately be to part ways?

FOX Sports NFL Studio Analyst and former Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski thinks so.

“He’s not respected in New England,” Gronkowski said on Wednesday’s edition of “Up & Adams” about Jones. “Coach [Bill] Belichick has played all these games with him. Bailey Zappe isn’t even close to being on Mac Jones’ level. You should never, ever sit Mac Jones. You tried it once; you tried it twice; it’s not working. Now, he’s doing it again; he won’t name a starting quarterback. He’s not respected there. I think Mac Jones should ultimately even right now just go ask for his release. And then it gets granted, he should go sign with the Cleveland Browns and start a new career; they need a quarterback [with Deshaun Watson being ruled out for the season]. … 


“I think he’s a decent quarterback. I think he definitely will be in the NFL for a little bit if it’s gonna be a backup for a little bit and then a starter once again. I think he’s gonna have a career, but it’s tough. He’s following up the regime still of the Tom Brady era. All that pressure with the fans, with coach Belichick, with the team. I don’t think he really has that many weapons around him, either. They’re dropping passes to go in and possibly take the lead, and they’re dropping easy balls on him, so his confidence goes down. They’re never on the same page. I just don’t see it fitting anymore. It just doesn’t look good anymore. I don’t see it healing at all, either.”

New England lost to the Indianapolis Colts in Germany last week, 10-6, dropping its record to 2-8 and last in the AFC East. After throwing an interception in the red zone late in the fourth quarter, the Patriots pulled Jones for Zappe for their last possession of the game — although they still lost.

Jones has totaled 2,031 passing yards, 10 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions and an 80.2 passer rating, while completing 65.4% of his passes this season. On the whole, the Patriots are averaging just 199.6 passing yards (22nd in NFL) and 14.1 points (31st) per game.

New England selected Jones with the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Alabama. In his first season under center, Jones led the Patriots to a 10-win season and the playoffs, while the quarterback made the Pro Bowl. Jones & Co. followed up said campaign with an eight-win season that saw them miss the playoffs. The Patriots are a combined 18-23 with Jones under center.

New England has a bye this coming week and then hits the road to face the New York Giants (kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET and can be viewed on FOX and the FOX Sports app), who boast the worst offense in the NFL (259.2 total yards and 11.8 points per game), in Week 12. Should be a good one!

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