There's been plenty of hoopla surrounding the New England Patriots and a potential run at disgruntled Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. After all, Robert Kraft himself noted that rapper Meek Mill reached out to him to express Jackson's desire to end up in Foxborough. While imagining what New England would look like with a Lamar Jackson-Bill Belichick pairing is enticing, the team is reportedly not in the running for the former league MVP. Instead, they appear set to double down with Mac Jones.
The Boston Sports Journal has reported that New England is actively trying to add more weapons around Jones and the team holds the belief that with these added weapons -- along with new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien -- he will rise to the occasion.
This path forward centered around Jones -- which Kraft is said to be fully in support of -- is an attempt to mirror what the Philadelphia Eagles have done with Jalen Hurts and the Miami Dolphins with Tua Tagovailoa. Both of those teams added a true No. 1 wide receiver into their offense (A.J. Brown and Tyreek Hill) last offseason and saw a noticeable boost in production from their respective signal-callers. Hurts turned himself into an MVP-caliber quarterback and had Philly in the Super Bowl, while Tagovailoa led the NFL in passer rating.
Of course, the task now for the Patriots is to find that difference-making wide receiver. This latest report said the team is still involved in trade talks around Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and Arizona wideout DeAndre Hopkins and that things could heat up in those pursuits closer to the NFL Draft.
Hopkins has been a popular trade target amongst fans in New England, and the receiver has recently been given permission by the Cardinals to speak with teams about a trade. In the past, Belichick has spoken glowingly about Hopkins' skillset and even said "he's every bit as good as anybody I've ever coached against." Given that admiration, one would think that Belichick would inquire now that he's on the block, especially if the asking price is starting to decrease with no suitors elsewhere stepping up to acquire him.
As for Jeudy, there is already a built-in relationship with Jones going back to their days at Alabama. The two spent time as roommates together when Jones was a freshman and played together in 2019 when Jones was a redshirt sophomore. Given that relationship and Jeudy's age (will be 24 at the start of next season), there's a case to be made that he should be looked at as the ideal target over Hopkins. That said, the reported asking price for him is higher, as Denver is said to be looking for a first-round pick in return.
New England has already made some waves in free agency by adding former Chiefs receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and ex-Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki, but a splash like either Hopkins or Jeudy may be enough to have this offense not only moving in the right direction but actually being a feared unit in the AFC.