Bill Belichick refuses to talk about Lamar Jackson
On Monday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft told reporters that he heard from Meek Mill that Lamar Jackson wants to play for New England. Kraft said it’s coach Bill Belichick’s call.
Belichick was literally meek when it came to talking about Lamar.
Asked whether Belichick envisions a situation in which the Patriots pursue Jackson, Belichick said (via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com), “I’m not going to talk about players on any other team.”
Reminded that Jackson is a free agent, subject to the franchise tag, Belichick said, “Period.”
Belichick is incorrect. Exclamation point. Jackson currently is not employed by the Ravens or any team. He has no contract. He’s no more employed by the Ravens than I am.
Lamar is able to talk to other teams. Other teams are able to talk about him.
Whether it’s an old-school show of respect to other franchises (in the hopes that other franchises would return the favor) or an effort to keep his cards close to the vest, Belichick’s statement is factually incorrect.
The real question is whether the Patriots will nevertheless try to get Jackson. It would take a major contract and a major investment of current and future draft picks.
On Monday, Kraft talked about the importance of building a team with draft picks. He also did not insist that Belichick has a job beyond 2023, if the team doesn’t make it back to the playoffs.
Belichick could be tempted to go all in for 2023, if he may not be there to use the future draft picks. He has done unexpected things in the past, and this would be very unexpected.
The entire discussion assumes the Ravens would trade Jackson to the Patriots. Even though they aren’t in the same division, the franchises share a significant degree of acrimony. The Ravens, if they had another viable alternative, would likely not be inclined to hand the 2019 MVP to a coach with six Super Bowl pelts on the wall.