Robert Kraft poured gasoline on the Lamar Jackson-to-New England speculation with his comments Monday at the NFL annual meeting.
Speaking with reporters in Phoenix, Kraft revealed that rapper Meek Mill texted him last week and said Jackson wants to play for the Patriots.
“Meek Mill texted and said, ‘Lamar Jackson wants to come to the Patriots,’ ” Kraft told reporters, via MassLive.com. “I said, ‘That’s Bill Belichick’s decision.”
Those eye-popping remarks came shortly after Kraft offered a strong endorsement of Mac Jones. The Patriots owner said he’s a “big fan” of Jones and believes the young QB will benefit from the restructuring of New England’s offensive coaching staff.
There’s reason to be optimistic about Jones now that Bill O’Brien, not Matt Patricia, is coordinating the Patriots’ offense, but Jackson is in a different stratosphere. He was the NFL MVP in 2019 and, when healthy, is one of the most uniquely talented players in the league at any position.
Acquiring him wouldn’t be cheap, though. Since the Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, any team hoping to sign him would need to be willing to give up two first-round draft picks and meet the QB’s lofty contract demands. Jackson reportedly wants a fully guaranteed contract similar to the one Deshaun Watson signed with the Cleveland Browns last season — a hefty price to pay for a quarterback who’s missed 10 games due to injury over the last two seasons.
As of Monday, no team had signed Jackson to an offer sheet or even been rumored as a serious suitor for the 26-year-old. Jackson announced Monday on Twitter that he requested a trade from the Ravens on March 2, but that request was not granted.
Belichick wouldn’t comment Monday on a potential Jackson pursuit, telling reporters he’d only talk about players on the Patriots’ roster. In three career games against New England, Jackson has completed 68.8% of his passes, thrown for seven touchdowns with two interceptions, posted a 107.2 passer rating and rushed for 233 yards and three scores.