BOSTON (CBS) — ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped an interesting news item on Sunday morning involving the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, quarterback Mac Jones, and some pre-draft maneuvering.

According to Schefter, when the 49ers made the massive trade to move from sending three first-round picks (2021, 2022, 2023) and a third-round pick (2022) to Miami to move up from the 12th slot in the draft in to the No. 3 spot, they did so out of fear that the Patriots were angling to move up into that spot to take quarterback Mac Jones.

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“San Francisco wanted to position itself to select a quarterback for the future and believed there were multiple worthy candidates,” Schefter wrote. “But the 49ers also were concerned that the Patriots would leapfrog them in the draft and position themselves to select Jones before San Francisco could. The 49ers considered the well-documented relationship between Bill Belichick and Nick Saban and knew that New England was doing legwork on the quarterback prospects in the draft. The Niners also believed at the time that Jones was the prospect the Patriots identified as their potential quarterback of the future.”

According to Schefter, “this belief contributed” to the Niners making that massive trade.

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Of course … the 49ers didn’t end up drafting Jones. They instead opted for North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, who’s set to begin the year as the backup to Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco.

The Patriots, meanwhile, made no moves to slide up in the first round. Instead, they waited patiently, even as the Bears traded up to No. 11 to select Justin Fields out of Ohio State.

When the Patriots were on the clock at No. 15, Jones was still on the board, and the Patriots selected the national champion out of Alabama. He has since won the starting job in New England, leading to the release of veteran quarterback Cam Newton.

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Schefter cited “league sources” on his report.

CBSBoston.com Staff