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New England Patriots become latest wild card team for Lamar Jackson trade

A year after making Mac Jones the 15th overall pick, the New England Patriots had to be feeling pretty good about their Pro Bowl quarterback coming off a playoff appearance. Yet, the former Alabama star suffered a sophomore slump in 2022, throwing just 14 touchdowns coupled with 11 interceptions. Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson remains unsigned by the Baltimore Ravens.

While Jones, 24, still has plenty of room for improvement, and perhaps with Bill O’Brien taking over offensive coordinator duties, we’ll see a third-year leap commonly seen from quarterbacks in the past.

Or, there’s always the attraction of trading two first round picks for Lamar Jackson, in addition to a massive contract extension that represents his skill level as a former MVP and constant threat to add another trophy to his showcase.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler recently raised the idea, labeling the Patriots as a “wild card” to emerge for a potential trade for the Ravens’ superstar QB.

Jackson, who has received the non-exclusive franchise tag valued at $32 million for 2023, but has yet to sign the offer, can pursue a contract with any team he chooses. The Ravens can match or receive two first-round selections in exchange.

As good as Jones may eventually be, Jackson is on another level right now as one of the most electrifying playmakers in the sport. Mac Jones will never be on that level. If the goal is to compete for another Super Bowl trophy immediately, Jackson represents their best chance.

Yet, it’s a fine line. If the Patriots suddenly sign Jackson to an offer sheet, and the Ravens simply match, this sends a big message to the quarterback they’ll be asking to lead the locker room in 2023. Then again, maybe that’s the exact type of move Bill Belichick would do to put a chip on his young quarterback’s shoulders.

Related: Minnesota Vikings mentioned as a good fit for Lamar Jackson trade

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