The Patriots don’t “need” Lamar Jackson, but one franchise stalwart-turned-ESPN analyst says he “sure as heck” wants to see the game-changing QB in Foxborough.
The Patriots aren’t expected to sign the 2019 MVP, but they could be a “wild card,” says a respected NFL Insider.
what Lamar Jackson is exposing about nfl insiders
The Patriots appear to be set at quarterback with Mac Jones, but Jackson heading to New England is something that another NFL Insider says he “wouldn’t rule out.”
What’s going on here? Are the Patriots actually interested in acquiring one of the game’s most dynamic quarterbacks, or is all of this talk just hot air?
Until a respected insider is willing to put their name to an actual report — and not just half-baked speculation — the rumblings about Jackson taking snaps at Gillette Stadium next season should sadly be viewed as the latter.
It’s definitely fun to dream about: Bill Belichick pulls off the ultimate coup and snags Jackson to set up the Patriots’ next dynastic run. And there are some elements to Jackson’s situation that seem like ripe conditions for the Patriots to sniff around.
It’s apparent there aren’t a lot of suitors for Jackson right now. When the Ravens used the non-exclusive franchise tag on the two-time Pro Bowler, we immediately heard the most QB-desperate teams in the NFL — Panthers, Falcons, Commanders — weren’t interested in his services.
And there hasn’t been much noise since.
Maybe teams are leery of giving Jackson, who declined a $250 million extension from the Ravens, potentially the largest contract in NFL history. There are questions about his health — he’s missed five games in each of the last two seasons — and whether his playing style is sustainable.
It would also cost two first-round picks to acquire Jackson, in addition to the required capital.
There’s also the possibility that NFL owners are colluding against Jackson. He reportedly wants an all-guaranteed deal, which is a precedent that owners don’t want to set.
For whatever reason, Jackson’s market is depressed. On the few occasions in which Belichick as acquired elite talent via trade or free agency — Randy Moss, Darrelle Revis — they came at discounts.
The two first-round picks for Jackson aren’t going away. But as ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio theorizes, the Patriots could trade for Jackson after the draft, and surrender picks in 2024 and 2025. Presumably, they would be picking late in the first round with Jackson, so those picks would be less valuable.
If his contractual demands come down just enough, maybe the price would be right.
That’s part of the argument for the Patriots actually being interested in Jackson. The other is that Belichick seemingly doesn’t love Mac Jones. At his last presser, Belichick didn’t commit to Jones going forward. He only said “Mac has the ability to play quarterback in this league.”
That’s the logic behind the Patriots and Jackson chatter. But that doesn’t mean anything has actually been reported.
Take Rob Ninkovich’s recent comments on ESPN. He really sounds like somebody just giving his opinion.
“I don’t need Lamar here, but I sure as heck want to see Lamar running around with a New England Patriot on his helmet,” he said. “Because if you see it out there, the Patriots instantly become division favorites and, to me, get right back into that Super Bowl hunt.”
Yes, Ninkovich played seven seasons with the Patriots and won two Super Bowls, and has great insight to offer. But that doesn’t mean he has moles inside of the organization.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano, the two NFL Insiders who tied Jackson to the Patriots, seem like they’re just making conversation. On “SportsCenter” Sunday, Fowler listed the Colts and Jets as possible suitors, before saying “and then you got some wild cards like Tennessee or New England. Teams that like to run the ball. You never know.”
That’s right: take your money to your nearest sports book! Jeremy Fowler said “you never know” what can happen.
On ESPN Friday, Graziano said on “Get Up!” he “wouldn’t rule out” the Patriots pursuing Jackson.
It’s fair to conclude that some people around the NFL are talking about the Patriots maybe going after Jackson. But some people around the NFL talk about a lot of things.
Unfortunately, good gossip doesn't always come to fruition.