New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft dropped a little nugget of information off at the annual league meetings in Phoenix this week when insinuated his team could pursue Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Kraft told reporters that rapper Meek Mill texted him Lamar Jackson wanted to play in New England but that the decision would ultimately fall to head coach Bill Belichick (who is also the team's general manager). Though seemingly innocuous, the quote intrinsically tied Jackson, who allegedly requested a trade on March 2 and is embroiled in a contract dispute with the Ravens, to the Patriots.
But even if this had come to pass, a former Patriots player who won two Super Bowls with New England warned Jackson about any perceived interest. Cornerback Asante Samuel Sr. tweeted "Lamar Jackson, my brother trust me you don’t want to play for Belichick" on Thursday.
No context. No follow-up. No stated reasons for this opinion.
Lamar Jackson, my brother trust me you don’t want to play for Belichick— Asante Samuel (@pick_six22) March 30, 2023
Samuel, whose son plays for the Los Angeles Chargers, played four years with Belichick and the Patriots from 2003-2007 before he spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons.
Why would Samuel so blatantly brush off his old team as a good landing spot for Jackson? Perhaps it's the idea of "The Patriot Way" — something former players have disliked during their stints in New England.
Or maybe the Patriots simply aren't as dominant of a franchise as they once were. Belichick has been under fire probably for the first time in his 23 years with the Patriots after he failed to make the playoffs in two of the past three seasons. When asked about why fans should be optimistic about the team after an 8-9 season, Belichick simply pointed to his coaching resume.
Regardless, it doesn't seem like Belichick is even interested in acquiring Jackson — which likely require at least two first-round picks if Jackson agreed to an offer sheet that the Ravens refused to match. The Athletic's Jeff Howe reported that New England won't pursue Jackson this offseason.
The Patriots aren't the only clubs seemingly out on the former MVP.
The Atlanta Falcons — who desperately need a quarterback and made a play for now-Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson— denied they were looking into Jackson. New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas said it would be disingenuous to go after Jackson while they negotiated for an Aaron Rodgers trade. Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said he had confidence in second-year quarterback Sam Howell. Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay didn't deny interest but did say he didn't believe in fully-guaranteed deals, which is something Jackson is reportedly looking for in a long-term contract.
The market for Jackson appears limited at best and nonexistent at worse.