Patriots agree to trade QB Mac Jones to the Jaguars for a 6th-round draft pick, AP source says

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Booed and benched the past two years in New England, quarterback Mac Jones is headed home to become a backup.

The Patriots and new coach Jerod Mayo agreed Sunday to trade Jones to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a sixth-round pick in next month’s NFL draft, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade cannot become official until the new league year begins Wednesday and after Jones passes a physical.

The move brings Jones home — he was born and raised in Jacksonville — and provides competition behind starter Trevor Lawrence.

Jones will vie with 30-year-old C.J. Beathard for the team’s backup spot. Jones will count $4.96 million against the team’s salary cap in the final year of his rookie contract. Beathard is scheduled to count $2.4 million in the final year of his deal.

The Jaguars are unlikely to keep both on their 53-man roster to start the season.

Jones, the 15th overall pick in the 2021 draft, flamed out spectacularly last season and was eventually replaced by Bailey Zappe. Jones went 2-9 in 11 starts in 2023, throwing for 2,120 yards with 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

He has 46 TD passes and 36 INTs in three NFL seasons. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2021, but he regressed in his second year with former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia calling plays.

The Patriots are expected to select a quarterback with the third overall pick in the draft. LSU’s Jayden Daniels, North Carolina’s Drake Maye and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy could be options there.

The Jaguars were looking for a younger option behind Lawrence. Beathard won his lone start last season, but he also injured his non-throwing shoulder in an earlier appearance and was so banged up late in the season that Jacksonville nearly had to start journeyman Matt Barkley off the street.

Adding Jones is one of a few changes Jacksonville is making to its offense in 2024. The team re-signed left guard Ezra Cleveland, renegotiated a reduced cap number for right guard Brandon Scherff and plan to bring in a veteran center to compete with third-year pro Luke Fortner. Receiver could be a top target in the draft if the Jags lose Calvin Ridley in free agency.

General manager Trent Baalke and coach Doug Pederson have been adamant that Lawrence is their guy, and they hope to sign him to a long-term deal — maybe even before next season.