Could the New England Patriots trade Mac Jones and pursue Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson?
Surely, that question crossed the minds of many Patriots fans after ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio reported Tuesday that Bill Belichick shopped Jones this NFL offseason. And those New England supporters weren’t alone.
NBC Sports’ Peter King also couldn’t help but connect the dots, wondering aloud Tuesday on “The Peter King Podcast” whether a Jones trade might open the door for Jackson to ultimately land in Foxboro.
“My first reaction was, ‘Hmm, if they somehow, somewhere can find a landing spot for Mac Jones, how interesting would it be to have the Patriots then go try to make a deal with Lamar Jackson?’ ” King asked. “Now, that’s probably adding two and two and getting seven. But that’s the first thing I thought of, because honestly, if you look at the AFC East and you’re Bill Belichick and you’re looking at the next two years with Josh Allen (with the Buffalo Bills), Tua Tagovailoa and a great set of weapons and a very imaginative playcaller (with the Miami Dolphins) … and then you’re looking at Aaron Rodgers coming in the division (with the New York Jets), you know that you’re fourth, by a lot, with Mac Jones. And you might not be fourth, and you might have a real chance, with Lamar Jackson. So, I’ll be very interested to see this and to see if this actually has some legs in the coming days.”
This hypothetical feels like a long shot. After all, subsequent reports threw cold water on the Jones trade rumors, and acquiring Jackson would require a sizable investment from the Patriots, in terms of trade compensation and the long-term contract the 2019 NFL MVP is seeking after receiving the nonexclusive franchise tag from the Ravens.
But it sure seems like there’s growing tension between Jones and Belichick, in which case we shouldn’t completely rule out a trade this offseason. And if New England pulls the trigger on a deal involving Jones, it’ll need a new quarterback, unless Belichick and company are sold on backup Bailey Zappe becoming QB1.