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A blockbuster trade could land the Patriots the former 16-0 quarterback

Mac Jones

Getty Mac Jones could head west in exchange for Trey Lance if there's likelihood to Pro Football Talk host Mike Florio's trade suggestion.

The New England Patriots could land a former 16-0 quarterback, albeit at a different level, 16 years after Tom Brady led the team to a 16-0 regular season record.

That’s San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance, who became a coveted NFL Draft prospect after a 16-0 season at North Dakota State in 2019. While the 49ers traded picks to select Lance at No. 3 in 2021, he fell in the depth chart amid injury and the emergence of Brock Purdy. Now, the 49ers have been “fielding calls” from “several teams looking into a potential trade” for Lance according to sources via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

NESN’s Sean McGuire speculated that the Patriots “could be among those teams calling” for Lance. The Patriots face unanswered questions at quarterback with a potential battle for the starting job between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio previously reported that Patriots head coach and general manager Bill Belichick “shopped” Jones to four other teams this offseason.

Florio took it a step further when he suggested that the Patriots could trade Jones for Lance in “a 1-for-1 swap” with the 49ers as McGuire put it. Florio floated the idea during an appearance on Tom Curran’s Patriots Talk Podcast on April 4.

“Why not Trey Lance for Mac Jones? I don’t know if the Patriots would want Trey Lance,” Florio said on the podcast, “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?”

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Lance’s mobility and arm wowed NFL draft experts, but he had a small sample size. He posted 2,786 yards passing and 28 touchdowns versus zero interceptions in 2019, and he ran for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. His 2020 season promised to be more of the same, but COVID reduced the fall season to one game for the Bison, and Lance declared for the draft before the 2021 FCS spring season.

He sat most of 2021 behind former Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco, and 2022 lasted two games for Lance due to an ankle injury. While Lance has showcased his talent at the NFL level at times in eight game appearances, his play hasn’t always matched the dominance he showed at NDSU. Lance has 797 yards passing for five touchdowns versus three interceptions, and he has 235 yards rushing and a touchdown on 54 carries.

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New England could catch the 49ers at a good time to make a trade for Lance.

While the 49ers look set on Purdy as the starter, as Rapoport noted, Purdy’s elbow injury might keep him out for the 2023 season. The 49ers only have quarterback Sam Darnold after Purdy and Lance.

Rapoport noted that “no trade is imminent” and that the 49ers didn’t initiate the trade inquiries from any team. With that said, Belichick made a quarterback trade with the 49ers before when the Patriots sent Garoppolo there in 2017 as NESN’s Adam London noted. The 49ers notably had the same general manager and head coaching tandem in John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan when that trade occurred.

Matthew Davis covers the NFL for Heavy.com, focusing on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers. As a contributing writer to the StarTribune, he has also covered Minnesota prep sports since 2016. More about Matthew Davis


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