The Baltimore Ravens raised quite a bit of eyebrows when they opted to place the non-exclusive franchise tag on pending free agent Lamar Jackson. The fifth-year quarterback is therefore available for other teams to pursue after the start of free agency on March 15.
However, several teams have already come out to deny rumors that they would come after him. Now, another team can be added to the list: the New England Patriots are not expected to come after Jackson, according to a report by MassLive’s Mark Daniels.
The Patriots deciding against trying to bring Jackson aboard should not come as too big a surprise. While the 26-year-old is one of the NFL’s most dynamic players and a former league MVP still very much in his prime, New England appears to be committed to Mac Jones as its starting quarterback heading into 2023.
Jones joined the Patriots as a first-round draft pick in 2021, and played some encouraging football during his rookie season. However, he took a step back the following year after losing offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels. New England tried to replace McDaniels with the inexperienced duo of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, but the experiment backfired and led to Jones seemingly regressing as a sophomore.
As a consequence, the Patriots hired Bill O’Brien to serve as their new OC and QB coach. The hope is that this setup will get Jones, and the entire New England offense, back on track.
As for Jackson, his status will remain one of the biggest stories in the NFL this offseason. While teams are allowed to offer him a contract starting next week, several have reportedly come out denying they will get involved — a group of teams that includes the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins and Washington Commanders.
In order to acquire Jackson a team would either have to reach a trade agreement with the Ravens, or alternatively sign him to an offer sheet. Baltimore would have five days to match in the latter scenario, or see their quarterback go in return for two first-round draft picks.