This week marked the diplomatic conclusion of the partnership between New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft. The potential influence of quarterback Mac Jones played a role in their separation, as highlighted in a comprehensive story by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and Wright Thompson on the conclusion of the Belichick era in Foxborough.
The report underscored recent personnel decisions by the Krafts, aiming to assert themselves more in football operations following disappointing seasons under Belichick. One crucial decision revolved around Jones. Belichick had reportedly suggested trading Jones in the offseason, a proposal the Krafts opposed, instead embracing Jones as the potential future quarterback post-Brady.
Close observers of the team noted a perceived “disconnect” between Belichick and Jones during the most recent training camp, with the former seemingly avoiding compliments for Jones during press conferences.
According to the story, tensions grew so severe this season that Belichick was said by a “confidant” to have waited so long to bench struggling quarterback Mac Jones out of spite for the owner.
It was “a f— you to Kraft,” the source close to Belichick claimed.
Despite Jones showing promise and earning a Pro Bowl nod in his rookie season, his performance declined in the last two campaigns. This season, he threw for 2,120 yards with 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions across 11 games before being benched in favor of backup Bailey Zappe.
While it remains unclear if Jones’ struggles were influenced by the reported tension over his status between Belichick and the Krafts, the situation undoubtedly posed challenges for his on-field performance.