NFL rumors: Patriots not expected to target Lamar Jackson in free agency
Report: Patriots not expected to target Lamar Jackson in free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The future of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is one of the NFL's biggest storylines with free agency set to begin March 15. But it doesn't sound like Jackson's future will be in New England.
Mark Daniels of MassLive reported Thursday that, "According to a league source, the Patriots aren’t expected to pursue Jackson during this free-agent process."
This is not a massive surprise.
Jackson was given the non-exclusive franchise tag earlier this week, which means teams can sign him to a long-term contract, but the Ravens would have the ability to match any deal and retain Jackson. If the Ravens declined to match, they would get two first-round draft picks from the team that signed Jackson.
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Giving Jackson a massive long-term deal (likely with a boatload of guaranteed money) and surrendering two first-round picks is a pretty steep price. The Patriots have the No. 14 pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Jackson is a tremendous player and a top 10 quarterback when healthy. But he has missed five games in each of the last two seasons and his playing style makes him more of an injury risk than traditional pocket passers.
Barring a surprise move, it seems like the Patriots will go into next season with Mac Jones as their starting quarterback. Jones struggled in 2022 as injuries forced him to miss three games. He also didn't play well when healthy. In his defense, the offensive line had issues and the playcalling was subpar, to say the least.
The Patriots hired Bill O'Brien in January to be the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. O'Brien is a veteran offensive-minded coach who's enjoyed a lot of success with all different kinds of quarterbacks. He's a massive step up from Matt Patricia, who was the de facto OC last season.