How Jacoby Brissett Feels About Possible Patriots QB Battle With Drake Maye

The Patriots suddenly have one of the more interesting QB rooms in the NFL. Here's how Jacoby Brissett feels about competing with Drake Maye.

Jacoby Brissett is in a weird spot. But he’s handling it like a professional, as he always has.

Brissett joined the New England Patriots with intentions of being their starting quarterback but understanding they might take a young signal-caller early in the 2024 NFL Draft. And the Patriots did just that, using the No. 3 overall pick on UNC QB Drake Maye. Brissett still might be the present, but the Patriots and their fans hope Maye is the future.

So, how does Brissett feel about it?

Jacoby Shares Initial Thoughts on Patriots Drafting Drake Maye

The Patriots selected Brissett in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. After spending one season in New England, he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts, for whom he made 30 starts over four seasons. Brissett spent the next three seasons with three different teams, including the Washington Commanders in 2023.

Now he’s back with the Patriots as a likely bridge starter. During a community event in Rhode Island on Tuesday, Brissett was asked for his thoughts on a possible QB battle with Maye, whom many believe might need to red-shirt for a season.

“That’s all out of my control, so I don’t really worry about that,” he told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “I’m excited to have him on the team, and the other guys as well that we drafted and picked up. I think it’s going to be good.

“Competition brings out the best in all of us, so I’m excited about that part.”

Brissett also revealed that he has a prior connection with Maye, as the two met through former Commanders QB Sam Howell, a teammate of Maye’s at UNC.

“I’m a little bit familiar with him, and obviously talking to each other now that we are on the same team,” Brissett said. “So, I’m sure that relationship will grow.”

Brissett is a pro’s pro. He wants to start, and he might be the Patriots’ best option in 2024. But he also won’t complain if New England asks him to turn the keys over to Maye.

Who Will Be the Patriots’ Starting QB?

Maye has a ton of work to do before he’s ready to start in the NFL. His footwork is sloppy — just ask Bill Belichick — as is his decision-making in the pocket. In his disappointing final season at UNC, Maye displayed both immense talent and concerning flaws.

As for Brissett, he is who he is. He’s a smart, reliable veteran who can play winning football but isn’t championship-caliber. The 31-year-old also is a respected veteran. For myriad reasons, Brissett is the perfect bridge starter, and he has an early edge over Maye.

After the Patriots drafted Maye, head coach Jerod Mayo set expectations for the QB room.

“I don’t think many rookies are ready to just jump in and play,” Mayo said of Maye. “At the end of the day, our philosophy is: The best players will play. Coming in as a rookie, hopefully (Maye) is a sponge.

” … Jacoby, he understands. He’s a mentor. He’s very smart, has great leadership skills. Hopefully, Drake can learn something from him as well. But I would say, we’re gonna compete all spring. We’re gonna compete during training camp. And the best player will start.”

Mayo added: “We’re not sitting here saying that Drake is our starting quarterback. I think he understands that. He understands the things he has to get better at. … I think he has a chance to go out there and really play at a high level.”

For what it’s worth, NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry, one of the more well-connected Patriots reporters, believes Mayo wasn’t bluffing.

“I believe they are (open to starting Maye),” Perry said during a recent radio appearance. “I believe that’s not B.S. when Jerod Mayo tells you, listen, we’re here for competition. We’re going to let these guys compete. And the best player is going to play.”

How things shake out between Mayo and Brissett remains to be seen. However, we’re fairly certain that one popular Patriots QB won’t be on the roster for much longer.

What Will Patriots’ QB Depth Chart Look Like?

For nearly two full seasons, the Mac Jones-Bailey Zappe debate dominated Patriots discourse. One already is gone — Jones was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars in March — and the other might not be far behind.

The Patriots acquired a sixth-round pick in the trade that sent Jones to Jacksonville. With the pick, New England selected Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton, who’s arm strength is the stuff of legend. And with Milton now in the fold, the writing is on the wall for Zappe.

Zappe, a fourth-round pick in 2022, played some good football for the Patriots. He went 4-4 as a starter, including leading New England to wins in two of its last five games last season. Zappe’s performance never justified the outrageous fan hype, but he wasn’t terrible.

Still, we’re talking about a player who was cut last August and only rejoined the roster because Matt Corral went AWOL. And Zappe only saw the field because Jones left the Patriots with no other choice. Zappe never should’ve played a down for the Patriots in 2023.

New England now has five QBs on its roster: Brissett, Maye, Milton, Zappe, and former CFL star Nathan Rourke, who actually was active over a healthy-scratched Jones in the season finale. That list inevitably will be trimmed by the time the Patriots start training camp, if not much sooner.

Brissett and Maye are locks to make the 53-man roster. New England typically keeps a third QB around, either on the active roster or the practice squad. Of course, the NFL’s rule about emergency third QBs changes some calculus, but it’s not a huge factor for roster construction purposes.

Is there a chance the Patriots allow Zappe and Milton to compete for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart? Sure, but to what end? The Patriots have been there and done that with Zappe; he has no future in New England.

In all likelihood, the Patriots will cut or trade Zappe in the coming weeks or months. Rourke might even outlast Zappe, as he’s more of a natural fit for the practice squad. But chances are both will be gone by the time training camp wraps up in late August.

With all that said, there’s one more variable to consider.

Some believe the 6-foot-5, 246-pound Milton is bound for a position switch in the NFL. Tight end has been floated as an option.

But Milton isn’t planning for a position change, nor are the Patriots.

“That will never happen,” Milton said of playing tight end.

Mayo added: “We’ll have to see how that kind of plays out once we put the pads on, but we drafted him as a quarterback.”

If Milton changes positions, Zappe might be able to weasel his way back onto the Patriots. But don’t count on it.

Either way, it’s not about Zappe or Jones anymore. It’s all about Brissett and Maye, and how soon the Patriots will begin their next era at quarterback.

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