Devin McCourty is a vocal supporter of Mac Jones.
Just last week, McCourty said the Patriots quarterback will provide vital leadership this season. The retired safety is confident Jones will bounce back now that he’s no longer being coached by Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.
But even McCourty knows the Patriots shouldn’t pass up the chance to at least inquire about the availability of Lamar Jackson, especially since New England evidently is a preferred landing spot for the 2019 NFL MVP.
“You have to make a call and see,” McCourty said Tuesday on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “If you hear Lamar Jackson is interested in playing on your team — this guy won MVP of the league. He’s one of the rare quarterbacks that you say, ‘He’s a guy.’ When he gets out there, he can go change a franchise. So you’ve got to at least call and say, ‘Hey, Baltimore, what’s up? What are we talking about here? What is it going to take.’ “
Patriots owner Robert Kraft triggered an avalanche of speculation Monday when he revealed rapper Meek Mill recently texted him and said Jackson had told him he wants to play for the Patriots.
“I said, ‘That’s Bill Belichick’s decision,’ ” Kraft told reporters.
That comment came hours after Jackson announced on Twitter that he requested a trade from Baltimore weeks ago, saying the Ravens have “not been interested in meeting my value.”
The Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, which allowed him to negotiate with other teams. If another team signed the QB to an offer sheet and Baltimore declined to match, Jackson’s new team would be required to hand over two first-round draft picks as compensation while also meeting Jackson’s sky-high contract demands.
The 26-year-old reportedly wants a fully guaranteed contract similar to the one Deshaun Watson signed with the Cleveland Browns last year. Thus far, neither Baltimore nor any other club has been willing to offer that.
It’s unclear if the Patriots would meet Jackson’s asking price. He’s an elite talent who would immediately transform New England’s offense, but he comes with real durability concerns after missing five games in each of the last two seasons, plus a playoff game this past January. But Kraft deferring to Belichick suggests ownership at least would be open to that investment.
The Ravens also could work out a trade that would allow a team to acquire Jackson for less than two first-rounders. That’s the only way Patriots linebacker-turned-ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi can see New England potentially landing the superstar signal-caller.
“I think Bill could craft an offense with (new offensive coordinator) Bill O’Brien, with Lamar Jackson,” Bruschi said on “Get Up.” “I think it’s possible. I think this would be a move that’s bigger than Bill has ever made, and I don’t think that’s something that I would anticipate. I don’t think this is something that would be realistic for New England.
“(But) the tweet (on Monday) by Lamar, maybe New England can think, well now, let me offer minimum what I can possibly offer for them, if they want to be out of the contract and just get a distraction out of the locker room. But absolutely, I agree with Dev. You’ve got to see what’s up. You’ve got to see if they’ll offer that.”
Bruschi also questioned how Jones would fit into a potential Jackson pursuit. The third-year pro struggled in 2022 but should benefit more than any other Patriot from O’Brien’s arrival.
“Like I say, quarterbacks are sensitive people,” Bruschi said. “So is Mac Jones involved in all of this? Is he a part of the deal that they send him to Baltimore? Because Mac Jones isn’t going to live in the same world as Lamar Jackson if he’s your quarterback, is he? You’ve got a lot of moving parts that you have to fix here.”