Everyone, from Patriots fans to media alike, was anxious to hear from owner Robert Kraft Monday at the annual NFL Owners Meetings. He delivered his usually proud statements and opined for the team to do better this upcoming season. But nobody left disappointed as far as Mr. K dropping a bombshell.
At the tail end of his availability to reporters, delivered outdoors in Phoenix, Arizona, Kraft mentioned that rapper Meek Mill texted him recently to relay that Lamar Jackson told Mill he wants to play for the Patriots. This seems like an odd game of “Telephone” for an NFL owner in his 80s to be playing. But remember, Kraft struck up a relationship years ago with Mill when he was involved in Mill’s release from prison, lobbying for “criminal justice reform.” Apparently, the two have kept in touch, and now comes word that the most coveted QB on the market would like to play for Mr. Kraft’s team. There are just two hangups:
First, it will cost two first-round draft picks to acquire Jackson, whom the Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on a few weeks back. Jackson revealed on Twitter Monday that he officially requested a trade from the Ravens back on March 2. Once acquired, the Patriots would have to come to terms on a new deal with Jackson, which would likely include hundreds of millions of guaranteed dollars.
Listen live to WEEI
Second, Kraft said whether or not to pursue Jackson was “Bill’s decision,” meaning he left it in the hands of his coach and personnel guru, Bill Belichick, to pull the trigger.
This makes it sound like Mr. Kraft wouldn't be against what it would cost to pursue Jackson. Rather, he left the decision up to the man he trusts to run his football team. A man who might be feeling a little heat from upstairs, as earlier in that same availability Kraft spoke to how important winning, especially in the playoffs, is to him.
Kraft did say he believed the team had made moves to allow Mac Jones “to excel” this season, giving reason for many to believe Kraft sees the third-year QB as the team’s starter this fall. Then comes the Mill text. Belichick made no mention of Jackson or any conversations with Kraft about the Ravens QB, only saying that all players will get a chance to play and “we’ll play the best players.”
Suffice to say this casual reference by the Patriots owner will be a hot topic, page-turner and take-generator aplenty for the days to come. And we’ll know exactly how Belichick feels about Jones and Jackson soon enough since it seems Kraft has all but authorized his pursuit if he believes it’s — you guessed it — in the best interest of the football team.