New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft appeared in public with rapper Meek Mill in April less than a month after Mill told Kraft about Lamar Jackson‘s interest in the team.
Kraft and Mill participated in the March of the Living in Poland on Tuesday, April 18, to remember Holocaust victims and survivors. The annual march “covers the Auschwitz-Birkenau Complex, the largest Nazi concentration camp during World War II,” according to the Associated Press.
At the NFL annual meeting in March, Kraft said Mill texted him about Jackson wanting to join the Patriots. The Baltimore Ravens quarterback remains in a contract dispute after he turned down $200 million guaranteed in 2022, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
While The Athletic’s Chad Graff reported that New England is “not in on Lamar Jackson,” the Patriots’ quarterback situation looks unsettled. Mac Jones regressed in 2022, and backup Bailey Zappe emerged as a challenger to the starting job last season.
More questions arose in the offseason when Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported that Patriots head coach and general manager Bill Belichick “shopped” Jones to four different teams. Baltimore, meanwhile, hasn’t found a trade partner for Jackson.
For now, it’s only known that Kraft and Mill attended the march in Poland to address antisemitism, a major cause for Kraft, who is Jewish. Kraft started the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism in 2019.
In 2018, Kraft joined other celebrities to advocate for Mill’s release from prison amid a probation violation in 2017. Mill’s conviction got overturned in 2019 because of further evidence that “undermined the credulity of the arresting officer” in 2017.
Patriots ‘Too Far’ to Make QB Change
For the time being, it appears the Patriots will stick with Jones at quarterback and pass on drafting one, according to Graff.
“Barring something unforeseen, Jones will be the Patriots’ starting quarterback in Week 1. The Patriots likely have gone too far into the offseason to make a change at the game’s most important position,” Graff wrote. “They’re not in on Lamar Jackson and they’re not expected to select a quarterback early in the NFL Draft, which begins April 27.”
Kraft previously said he is a fan of Jones, whom the Patriots drafted at No. 15 in 2021. However, Kraft acknowledged that things didn’t work for Jones with previous offensive coaches Joe Judge and Matt Patricia calling the shots.
New England hired Bill O’Brien as the new offensive coordinator this offseason, and he briefly crossed paths with Jones at Alabama in 2021. O’Brien just came on board as Jones got ready for the NFL Draft after a successful collegiate career with the Crimson Tide.
Patriots Exec Addresses QB Option in Draft
After Patriots director of player personnel Matt Groh praised Kraft’s efforts to fight antisemitism on Tuesday, Groh addressed if the Patriots would take a quarterback in next week’s draft. Groh didn’t say no.
“We evaluate every position. Quarterback is certainly a very important position if not the most important position,” Groh told reporters.
Groh acknowledged that the Patriots drafted a quarterback back-to-back years recently with Jones in 2021 and Zappe in 2022. Before Jones and Zappe, the Patriots drafted quarterbacks in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2019 during the final years of Tom Brady in New England.
“That’s just part of the competitive atmosphere we have around here,” Groh said.