Two-time Super Bowl champion and New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones didn’t shy away from the Lamar Jackson rumors in a recent interview despite the faded momentum of late.
The Baltimore Ravens quarterback, who announced his trade request, got linked to New England after Patriots owner Robert Kraft said rapper Meek Mill informed him of Jackson’s interest via a text. Jackson went on the non-exclusive franchise tag, which allows Jackson to talk with other squads, and the Ravens could trade him this year.
“We’re always in the business of getting good players,” Jones said about Jackson on “The Crew” podcast with Josina Anderson. “That’s part of the game. You win with good players. The more good players you can have, the better your team’s gonna be. So, I don’t think we’re ever intentionally turning down good players.”
Patriots insider Chad Graff of The Athletic reported that the team has no plans to pursue Jackson. The former MVP could cost the Patriots upward of $200 million.
New England faces a tenuous quarterback situation nonetheless with Mac Jones, who regressed in 2022, and Bailey Zappe, who emerged as a quality starter. Patriots head coach and general manager Bill Belichick didn’t commit to either as the starter during the NFL annual meeting in Arizona, and he “shopped” Jones to four different teams according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
Jonathan Jones: ‘You Trying to Get Spicy’
While the quarterback future looks challenging at best, Jonathan Jones backed Mac Jones amid a question from Anderson about upgrading with Jackson. The former MVP threw more touchdowns than Mac Jones in 2022 despite playing two fewer games, and Jackson is still a running threat with 764 yards and three touchdowns last season.
“You trying to get spicy,” Jones told Anderson. “I will say this, I will say they offer different things. Two different types of worlds. But you got one player who’s an MVP. … So, that’s not fair to compare apples to oranges, to a guy who’s going into Year 3 to improve, to an MVP candidate in this league.”
Mac Jones looked promising as a rookie in 2021 when he threw for 3,801 yards and 22 touchdowns versus 13 interceptions. He beat out former MVP Cam Newton for the starting job and led the Patriots to the playoffs for the first time since the Tom Brady era.
Things went south for Jones in 2022 with just 2,997 yards passing for 14 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions in 14 games. Zappe, a rookie last year, stepped up with 781 yards passing and five touchdowns versus three interceptions in four games. He also completed 70.7% of his passes.
Whoever takes on the starting role in 2023, will face a stacked AFC East. The New York Jets recently added quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and the Buffalo Bills already have MVP contender Josh Allen at quarterback while the Miami Dolphins have Tua Tagovailoa under center.
Former Patriots Super Bowl QB Drew Bledsoe Believes in Mac Jones
While Jones’ future under center looks questionable, former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe believes Jones could turn the corner — but with one caveat.
“He’s never going to be Lamar Jackson and go take over a game with his legs or with his arm strength,” Bledsoe said on the “Off the Pike with Brian Barrett” podcast recently. “But, within the confines of playing the position of quarterback, he can be very, very good at that as long as they put the right pieces around him.”