More than four days into free agency, no potential suitor has conclusively been linked to Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Could the Patriots eventually make a run at him?
Former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich recently lobbied for his former team to make the move.
“If you’re the Patriots, and you go and you make an attempt to get Lamar, that changes everything,” Ninkovich said Friday on Get Up!, via NBC Sports Boston. “Absolutely everything. And listen, I am a huge fan of Lamar’s style of game and what it puts on a defense, the stresses.
“And there’s needs and wants, OK? A need is necessary for life. A want, it helps your quality of life. 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. Because if you see it out there, the Patriots instantly become division favorites and, to me, get right back into that Super Bowl hunt.”
More recently, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com described the Patriots as a “wild card” for the 2019 NFL MVP, via NESN.com.
The Patriots can be regarded as a wild card for pretty much any free agent, because they’re always unpredictable when it comes to pursuing players. The hover silently, and then they move suddenly. Like they did in 2020 with quarterback Cam Newton.
The question is whether the Patriots would pursue Jackson before or after the 2023 draft. They currently have the 14th overall pick. If Jackson would make them significantly better, they could make a move after the draft, giving up a much lower 2024 first-round pick and a first-rounder in 2025 -- in lieu of sacrificing their first-round picks in 2023 and 2024.
The bottom line is that the Patriots always want to win, and that coach Bill Belichick hardly gave a stellar and unconditional endorsement to current starter Mac Jones after the 2022 season ended. Asked whether Jones will be the the guy again in 2023, Belichick said, “Mac has the ability to play quarterback in this league.”
Indeed he does. And Lamar Jackson has even more ability. Sometimes, it’s that simple.
If only negotiating a deal with Lamar could be that simple. Then again, if anyone can lay out the terms of an offer to the self-represented Jackson in a blunt, matter-of-fact, nonsensical way, it’s Bill Belichick.