PHOENIX — The preceding headline bears repeating just for the sheer awesomeness involved: Last week, Rapper Meek Mill texted Robert Kraft to give the New England Patriots owner a heads-up that former MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson wants to play for the six-time Super Bowl champions.
Kraft shared that incredible tidbit late in his news conference at the NFL owners meetings here Monday. Could it happen?
“That’s Bill’s decision,” Kraft said, per the Boston Globe. Bill refers to Bill Belichick, of course.
Could Lamar Jackson Play for New England Patriots?
The news came just hours after Jackson shook up the NFL universe by going public with a trade request that would get him out of Baltimore after five seasons.
Jackson, who without a new deal is on track to play this year under the non-exclusive franchise tag (for $32.4 million), tweeted what was essentially a farewell message to the city of Baltimore and released it to coincide with John Harbaugh’s previously scheduled news conference.
Jackson wrote: “As of March 2nd I requested a trade from the Ravens organization for which the Ravens has not been interested in meeting my value, any and everyone that’s has met me or been around me know I love the game of football and my dream is to help a team win the super bowl.
“You all are great but I had to make a business decision that was best for my family and I. No matter how far I go or where my career takes me, I’ll continue to be close to my fans of Baltimore Flock nation and the entire State of Maryland. You’ll See me again.”
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Could the next time he sees them be in Patriots red, white, and blue? Kraft and Mill are friends through former Philadelphia 76ers owner Michael Rubin, and the Pats owner was among the most prominent voices to call for Mill’s release from prison in early 2018.
It was announced early Monday that Mill will be the leading voice in Kraft’s $25 million antisemitism campaign.
How Patriots Could Acquire Lamar Jackson
Just because Jackson wants to play in New England doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. For starters, the Patriots already have a starting quarterback — Mac Jones, who’s entering Year 3 of his NFL career.
The Patriots shook up their coaching staff this offseason in an attempt to improve Jones’ play after an up-and-down 2022.
Bill O’Brien has been brought back to again serve as Belichick’s offensive coordinator, and Kraft spoke optimistically about the impact that move will have on Jones’ game.
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“I was very disappointed the way our season went,” Kraft said, per the Boston Globe. “My objective for our team is we make the playoffs. … We finished under .500 for the first time in a long time, so I thought changes had to be made.”
Any trade for Jackson would surely include a significant increase in pay. The Ravens won’t give him away. The asking price begins at two first-round picks, per the franchise tag rules. It’s conceivable the Ravens could tag and trade him, but why would they do any favors to one of their biggest rivals?
Plus, New England is just $14 million under the cap despite having a mere $5.3 million in quarterback salary cap charges.