New England Patriots

L-R: Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, circa 2021; New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, circa 2006. (Kevin C. Cox/Brian Killian, Getty Images)

Comparing Mac Jones to Tom Brady isn’t fair to either of them. But what about comparing Mac Jones to one of the infamous “Brady Six,” the other quarterbacks drafted before Brady in the seminal 2000 NFL Draft?

Such a comparison is also treacherous. But fortunately for Jones and the Patriots, scouts have compared him to one of the “Brady Six” guys who had a decent NFL career: former Jets and Dolphins QB Chad Pennington. Albert Breer of The MMQB says “a few scouts” have compared the two because of their accuracy, intelligence, and leadership.

Pennington’s name, for whatever reason, has tended to garner some hilariously strong reactions around New England. People either are willing to acknowledge he wasn’t that bad or insist he was awful. Pennington didn’t have a big arm and was never a true franchise guy who could elevate a team by himself. But he did finish his career with a 44-37 record despite playing most of it for the Jets, and led the NFL in completion percentage twice.

It wouldn’t be the worst thing if Jones turns out to be the 2002 version of Pennington, who led the league in passer rating (104.2) and completion rate (68.9 percent) and threw 22 touchdowns passes against just six interceptions while the Jets won the AFC East. Obviously, everyone involved would like Jones to be better than that, and he certainly looks to have a better arm.

But for Jones in New England, under Bill Belichick’s tutelage, a similar version of prime Pennington seems like the floor.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at