Patriots owner Robert Kraft told reporters Monday that Meek Mill indicated Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is interested in playing for New England after requesting a trade out of Baltimore.
While that might sound like something out of Mad Libs, and thus should be taken with a grain of salt, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg believes a trade between the Patriots and Ravens is possible. Because why not?
“I think it makes all the sense in the world,” Greenberg said Tuesday on ESPN, before then offering a hypothetical deal. “Mac Jones and the 14th pick in the draft for Lamar Jackson. Who says ‘no?’ “
The Ravens placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on Jackson this offseason, meaning he can sign an offer sheet with another team, at which point Baltimore would need to decide whether to match the offer or receive two first-round picks as compensation for letting the veteran quarterback walk.
Jackson hasn’t gone down that road yet, though, perhaps an indication that a market for the 2019 NFL MVP hasn’t fully developed. In addition to surrendering two first-rounders, whichever team signed Jackson likely would need to give him a lucrative long-term contract. Clearly, it’s pricey endeavor.
But the Ravens theoretically could accept less than two first-rounders (or something comparable) as part of a trade. And that ultimately could open the door for a franchise, like the Patriots, to take the plunge. After all, Jackson is an elite talent who would completely change New England’s stagnant offense.
“(The Patriots) should be very interested. That’s the point in all of this,” Greenberg said. “The guaranteed contract is what complicates the matter. And I understand that. But the reality is Lamar Jackson is a great player, and the Patriots don’t have a great player at quarterback. No one understands better than they do the benefit of having a great player at quarterback. So, I think that one makes all the sense in the world. Wouldn’t it be ironic if it’s Meek Mill who ultimately winds up facilitating the deal?”
There definitely are both pros and cons to New England potentially landing Jackson. But it sure would be a fascinating development, if nothing else, especially with the rest of the AFC East — the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets — all looking like contenders ahead of the 2023 NFL season.