Patriots cited as ‘wild card’ in Lamar Jackson sweepstakes
A fascinating destination has emerged as a proverbial dark horse in the Lamar Jackson sweepstakes.
The Ravens applied the non-exclusive tag to Jackson, which means he is a restricted free agent and that any team that signs him away from Baltimore — a deal that would need a financial commitment of several years — must also relinquish two first-round picks.
ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler recently cited the Patriots as a “wild card” for Jackson’s services.
“Right now there’s no real firm offer sheet for Lamar Jackson that I’m aware of,” Fowler said on ESPN “SportsCenter” over the weekend.
“Teams are probably slow-playing this. The draft could be a good indicator because you have a team like the Colts at No. 4. If they feel like they can’t get the quarterback of the future they wanted to draft maybe they pivot to Lamar Jackson.
“The Jets, if they strike out with Aaron Rodgers, certainly that’s not expected, but they could pivot.
“And then you got some wild cards like Tennessee or New England. Teams that like to run the ball. You never know.”
Fowler was the second ESPN reporter in the last several days who broached the topic.
On “Get Up” on Friday, former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich advocated for New England to sign Jackson; Mike Greenberg clarified that we have not heard “rumblings” about Bill Belichick and Co. getting involved, and Dan Graziano interjected, “I wouldn’t rule it out.”
The consensus up to this juncture has been that Mac Jones would remain New England’s starting quarterback next season.
After the disastrous experiment of having Matt Patricia and Joe Judge run the New England offense, Belichick hired his former offensive coordinator, Bill O’Brien, for the job.
Jones led the Patriots to a playoff berth in his rookie season in 2021, but regressed last year after offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left to become the Raiders’ head coach.
New England went 8-9 and missed the playoffs in 2022.