Lamar Jackson might want to link up with the Patriots, but the feeling apparently isn’t mutual.
New England owner Robert Kraft sent fans into a tizzy Monday when he said rapper Meek Mill told him Jackson wants to play for the Patriots. Jackson is free to negotiate with other franchises while under the non-exclusive franchise tag, and earlier this week said he recently requested a trade from the Baltimore Ravens. If the Patriots were to acquire Jackson, they either must sign him and forfeit two first-round picks to the Ravens, or negotiate a sign-and-trade with Baltimore.
Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard on Tuesday shut down those rumors, reporting New England isn’t interested in pursuing the 26-year-old quarterback and instead is committed to surrounding Mac Jones with more weapons. Jeff Howe of The Athletic followed suit Wednesday morning, also refuting the Jackson-Patriots speculation.
“It’s just not going to happen, according to a league source,” wrote Howe, who added New England is turned off by the prices of both a straight-up signing and a sign-and-trade.
Of course, things can change at any moment. But, at this point, a Jackson-Patriots union appears to be more fantasy than reality.
But that doesn’t mean Jones is guaranteed the starting job in 2023. The deeper we get into the offseason, and the more we hear from Bill Belichick and Patriots players, the more it sounds as if Jones and Bailey Zappe could engage in a quarterback competition during training camp.
Even if Jones does hold onto his job, he might be looking at a potential make-or-break third season in New England.