Reports: Patriots won’t pursue Ravens’ Lamar Jackson

Someone within the New England Patriots seemingly wants the public to know the club won’t be pursuing Baltimore Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson this spring. 

NFL national insider Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports that “a league source” says the Patriots making a move for Jackson while he’s on the non-exclusive franchise tag is “just not going to happen.” 

Howe added that what it would cost in draft picks and salary to get Jackson is “not a price the Patriots would be willing to pay” and is “too much of a non-starter.” 

It is widely believed that Jackson wants a deal similar to the fully guaranteed five-year, $230M contract Deshaun Watson signed with the Cleveland Browns last March. Baltimore has the right to match any offer Jackson agrees to or receive two first-round draft picks for the 26-year-old.

Howe shared his update after Greg A. Bedard of Boston Sports Journal (h/t NESN) reported that “three league sources close to the situation” said that Patriots ownership is against the idea of going after Jackson even if head coach Bill Belichick wanted to welcome the one-time NFL Most Valuable Player to New England. 

“The Patriots believe that (current starting quarterback) Mac Jones deserves a real shot after not being put in a position to succeed by Belichick last season,” Bedard explained. 

Last month, Patriots insider Tom E. Curran said during an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show” that team owner Robert Kraft would “absolutely, positively not” sign off on trading Jones before the 2023 season. Both Bedard and Howe noted that Kraft wants to see if Belichick along with new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien can get Jones “back on track”  following what was largely a disastrous 2022 campaign. 

“If not, a much more difficult quarterbacking decision looms in 2024,” Howe added. “But there’s no decision at the moment. It’ll be Jones and not Jackson in 2023.”

As for Jackson, he seems to be running out of options outside of Baltimore and maybe the Indianapolis Colts as it pertains to securing a long-term contract before the July 17 deadline for teams to sign tagged players. 

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