It has become more prevalent in the last handful of years to draw attention to the draft mistakes by Bill Belichick and the Patriots, especially when referencing their lack of proper planning for a post-Tom Brady team.
Most criticism has focused on the wide receivers they passed on, whether entirely or for players who are no longer even on the team, like A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel. But topping the list continues to be Lamar Jackson, who just provided another harsh reminder to New England when he won the MVP award for the 2023 season.
Maybe if they had been fortunate enough to keep Brady on the team instead of watching him win a Super Bowl with the Bucs, missing out on Jackson wouldn't have been as devastating. But the Patriots find themselves in a nearly identical situation as they did when the quarterback left four years ago, as they enter this year's free agency and draft with big question marks around the position.
To make matters worse, they didn't just pass on Jackson once, deciding to draft Sony Michel and Isiah Wynn in the 2018 draft instead. But they also didn't make much effort to pursue him when he was granted permission to seek a trade last offseason.
Although it may have been a power move by the quarterback to convince the Ravens to give him the extension he deserved, plenty connected him to the Patriots in 2018 and last spring. It was made even more apparent by Robert Kraft, who randomly shared he was told Jackson wanted to be the Patriots quarterback, yet nothing came of it.
Less than a year later, they're watching him win his second MVP award after taking the Ravens to the AFC Championship while they're contemplating whether to give Mac Jones another shot, sign a veteran bridge quarterback, or draft a rookie.
It's not an ideal situation, especially since they could've had Jackson all along. But this could be their opportunity to get it right this time, and hopefully, they do.