Tom Brady? Lamar Jackson? What should we make of this?

I mean, sure, devoid of any regard for logistics or menu building, the idea is tempting. Jackson, when healthy, may be the most impressive player in the league. He’s just 26, has a 45-16 record as a starter (QB wins are a questionable metric, but a . 738 winning percentage counts for something), and won MVP honors in 2019 when he led the league in touchdown passes (36, to just 6 interceptions). ), threw for 3,127 yards, and ran for another 1,206 yards and 7 touchdowns.

He was close to unstoppable, as the Patriots discovered in Week 9 of that season. In the Ravens’ 37-20 victory, Jackson completed 17 of 23 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown, ran for another 73 yards and two scores, and the Patriots alone had their first loss after an 8-0 start.

Who wouldn’t want a player like that?

Well, this question comes with a complicated answer. In part due to injuries that weren’t surprising given his style of play, Jackson hasn’t been quite that player since then. He has fewer touchdown passes in the 24 games he’s played over the past two seasons (33) than he did in this stellar MVP season. He missed the last five games plus the playoff loss against the Bengals this season due to a knee injury. It’s fair to wonder if we’ve already seen the best of him.

But that’s not the main reason the Patriots should stay away from him. They can’t afford to collect. Jackson seeks a new contract, and the criteria would have to be in the neighborhood of Browns’ humiliating Deshaun Watson deal (five years, fully guaranteed $230 million, with $44.965 million signing bonus) and an extension to the Cardinals’ already unfortunate Killer Murray (five years, $230.5 million, starting from 2024).

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Moreover, they absolutely could not sacrifice the venture capital needed to acquire Jackson. Consider: The Broncos traded their 2022 and 2023 first-round picks, 2022-’23 second-round picks, and a fifth round ’22, plus tight end Noah Fant, quarterback Drew Lock, and defensive end Shelby Harris to the Seahawks this past March now. Quarterback Russell Wilson, 34, fourth in the 22nd.

And the Browns — the Browns’ asshole — sent Texas three first-round picks (2022, 23rd, 24th), 23 third-round picks, fourth in 24 to Watson (who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women) and the fifth of the twenty-fourth.

Now imagine what Jackson’s asking price would be. The Patriots have several holes in their roster for paying extremely exorbitant amounts in salary and purchases for a quarterback right now.

It doesn’t make sense for the Patriots to bring back Tom Brady.

It’s a nice feeling, sure, and a nice little opportunity for closure. But there’s a roughly equal chance Tom Tupa will return to the Patriots as a quarterback, a 56-year-old who turned to kickbacks decades ago.

Brady will turn 46 next season. He’s probably in his final decade as an NFL quarterback – well, well, he probably has two years left at most. (It was impossible not to notice the lack of speed on some of his fastballs in the playoff loss to Dallas.)

He’s looking to add to that Lombardi Trophy count, and even if all the fences are mended with Bill Belichick, there’s still some building to be done before the Patriots can be competitive again. (Can you imagine how much Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Born and Jono Smith would have angry Brady this season?)

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This was the best player, coach, and franchise player in NFL history for a few decades. It is not now. Besides, it would be a drastic turnaround if Brady came back here one last time, only for it to be the year his skills finally eroded to the point of helplessness.

I hope he ends up at 49, playing for his boyhood team in front of his family. This is the place Is that true It all began for him, and this is where it must end.

It makes sense for the Patriots to stay with Mack Jones.

Jones went on to come off a promising rookie season – will you make me mention his Pro Bowl appearance again? — to outright disaster in his sophomore year for one reason more than any other: he was let down by the coaching staff.

Belichick trusted Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, two important members of his coaching staff in the past, to oversee the offense. They prove stunningly inept, so much so that on his good days the grumpy Jones went from being an important asset to a question mark. The Patriots owe him — yes, they owe him — a third season to see if he can build on what he’s had as a starter.

The Patriots don’t need a new quarterback, not yet. They need to nail that 14th overall pick, put together another strong draft, and hire an offensive coordinator who can, you know, coordinate the offense. Do these things, and then the true answers about Jones will be revealed.

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Chad Finn can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @employee.

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