Lamar Jackson would like the rest of the NFL to know he is very much available after announcing publicly on Monday that he issued a trade request to the Ravens back in early March, five days before the team placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on him.
John Harbaugh insisted at the league meetings the team was still preparing for Lamar to be a Raven and that he “felt good” about where negotiations were, but Jackson appears to be a bit more frustrated with his standing in Baltimore right now. There are a number of teams with rumored interest in Jackson, headlined by the Colts — whose team plane just so happened to be in Baltimore recently, as Twitter sleuths discovered. Colts GM Chris Ballard didn’t shy away from how intriguing it is to have Jackson on the market, and armed with the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s Draft, the Colts are probably the team best equipped to make a run at him.
Jackson, meanwhile, apparently has some interest in a longtime AFC power in the New England Patriots, with that information being relayed to owner Robert Kraft by the strangest of brokers: Meek Mill.
Robert Kraft said Meek Mill texted him 3 or 4 days ago and said Lamar Jackson wants to be a Patriot. Kraft said it was Bill’s decision
— Karen Guregian (@kguregian) March 27, 2023
Mill is fairly close with Kraft (and former Sixers owner Michael Rubin), regularly attending events with the Patriots owner, so it’s not quite as bizarre as it initially seems, but it’s still a pretty funny game of telephone being played between an NFL owner, a hip-hop artist, and a star quarterback. The best part is Kraft doesn’t even pretend like he wouldn’t be interested, instead passing the responsibility on making that decision to Bill Belichick.
That’s just savvy ownership work, as even the slightest hint of a Jackson rumor will excite the Pats fanbase — and he also knows better than to alienate Mac Jones completely by insisting he fully believes in Jones as their guy. All of this is just the beginning of what ought to be a wild Draft season, with Aaron Rodgers still in the wind as well with the Jets trying desperately to land him from Green Bay, and Jackson now putting the heat on Baltimore by announcing his intentions of playing elsewhere next year.