Posted on: March 28, 2023, 11:40h.
Last updated on: March 28, 2023, 12:20h.
The Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson have reached a stalemate in contract extension negotiations, so Jackson has requested a trade. The Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons are front- runners to land Jackson in a trade, which the Ravens could expedite with the 2023 NFL Draft looming.
If the Ravens trade Jackson, it could alter the trajectory of their franchise and impact the AFC North divisional race.
The Ravens were +2200 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII according to DraftKings, but recently slipped to +2500 after Jackson demanded a trade. The Ravens also saw their AFC Championship odds move to +1900, and they slipped to ninth on the board.
The NFL divisional odds were also impacted by the recent news. The Cincinnati Bengals are the consensus favorite to win the AFC North, but their odds had a slight uptick to +110. The Cleveland Browns are second on the board to win the division at +330 odds, and they moved ahead of the Ravens at +350. The Pittsburgh Steelers are the long shot to win the AFC North at +550 odds.
Jackson Requested a Trade on March 2
Jackson won the NFL MVP in 2019. He has a 45-16 record as the Ravens’ starting quarterback. Over his five-season career, Jackson completed 63.7% of his passes for 12,209 yards, 101 touchdowns, and 38 interceptions. He also added 24 rushing touchdowns and 4,437 rushing yards.
Jackson used social media to inform fans about his trade request, which occurred in early March, but which wasn’t made public until Monday morning.
I love the game of football and my dream is to help a team win the Super Bowl,” Jackson tweeted. “I had to make a business decision that was best for my family and I. No matter how far I go or where my career takes me, I’ll continue to be close to my fans of Baltimore Flock nation and the entire state of Maryland. You’ll see me again.”
“I haven’t seen the tweet,” said head coach John Harbaugh. “It’s an ongoing process. I’m following it very closely, just like everyone else here. I’m looking forward to a resolution.”
Jackson is under a nonexclusive franchise tag with the Ravens, which allows him to negotiate a new contract with other teams. The Ravens have a chance to match any offer if Jackson signs the offer sheet. If not, then the Ravens will earn a pair of first-round picks as compensation.
Jackson could earn $32.4 million this season while playing under the franchise tag if the Ravens don’t trade him or he doesn’t sign with another team.
No Compromise On a Guaranteed Contract
The Ravens want Jackson to remain as their starting quarterback and Jackson wants to return. However, both parties are unwilling to budge on the terms of a new deal. Jackson wants a fully guaranteed contract and the Ravens are unwilling to give it to him, which is why they’ve reached a stalemate.
Because of the brutality of the NFL and the high risk for injuries, teams don’t generally offer players fully guaranteed contracts. The Cleveland Browns and quarterback Deshaun Watson have one in place, but that’s a rare exception. The Browns gambled on a full guarantee in order to outbid other teams interested in a Watson trade with the Houston Texans last off-season.
The Ravens have stated multiple times that they’re not foolish like the Browns. Jackson rejected a partially-guaranteed contract offer despite legitimate injury concerns.
Jackson missed the final five games of the regular season with a PCL knee injury. That kept him out of the playoffs, and the Ravens lost an AFC wild card game without him. All signs point toward a full recovery, but a mobile quarterback like Jackson has a higher risk for injuries than does a traditional pocket passer. That’s the conundrum facing the Ravens and Jackson.
Jackson is one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the NFL because of his ability to run the ball. He’s been the top rusher on the Ravens in the last four seasons. Jackson’s ability to run the ball is his special power, and his elusiveness gives opposing defensive coordinators insomnia trying to scheme up different ways to stop him.
Yet every time Jackson runs the ball, it increases his risk of injury. A potential career-ending injury is why the Ravens don’t want to be on the hook for a fully guaranteed contract.
Indy Colts Seeking a Franchise Quarterback
The Indianapolis Colts missed a chance to acquire the #1 pick in the NFL Draft when the Chicago Bears traded the top pick to the Carolina Panthers. The Colts have the #4 pick, which could be included in a trade package for Jackson. Right now, the Colts are the betting favorite to acquire Jackson in a deal with the Ravens.
The Colts finished last season with a 4-12-1 record, and they parted ways after their experiment with aging quarterback Matt Ryan failed to deliver them a trip to the postseason.
“Anytime a special player is available, which he is, you’ve got to do the work,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said about Jackson.
The Colts struggled to find a long-term replacement for Andrew Luck, who retired in 2019 after sustaining a laundry list of injuries. They “rented” veteran quarterbacks on a series of one-year deals while they search for the next franchise quarterback.
Team owner Jim Irsay loves Jackson as a player. But he’s skittish on the terms of a new contract.
The money is not a problem,” Irsay said in an interview with The Athletic. “I do not believe in fully guaranteed contracts.”
The Colts recently signed Gardner Minshew, who was a backup quarterback last seaso with the Philadelphia Eagles. They also have quarterbacks Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles on the roster.
Atlanta Falcons Eyeing Jackson
The Atlanta Falcons finished in last place in the NFC South in 2022 with a 7-10 record. The division is wide open after Tom Brady retired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The New Orleans Saints signed free-agent quarterback Derek Carr, but he’s not in the same category as future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. The Carolina Panthers traded up to acquire the #1 pick from the Bears, and rumors out of Charlotte suggest they will select Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud with the first pick.
The Falcons parted ways with veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota in the off-season. They were able to take a look at rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder after they benched Mariota late in the season. The Falcons signed quarterback Taylor Heinicke from the Washington Commanders under the assumption he would back up Ridder this season.
We expect Desmond to take the next step,” head coach Arthur Smith told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank also stated his support for Ridder. The Falcons have a plan at quarterback heading into training camp, yet oddsmakers still think they’re a potential landing spot for Jackson. Only the Colts have better odds than the Falcons in securing Jackson in a trade with the Ravens.
Prop Bet: Which Team Will Add Lamar Jackson In a Trade?
DraftKings posted a prop bet and you can wager on which team will acquire Jackson in a trade with the Ravens. This prop bet assumes that Jackson won’t reach a deal with the Ravens, and it’s based on which team he’ll be with when he takes his first snap as a quarterback next season.
The Colts are the betting favorite at +250 odds to add Jackson in a trade, putting them slightly ahead of the Falcons at +300. The Colts publicly expressed interest in Jackson, while the Falcons have not.
The Washington Commanders and New England Patriots are both +450 odds to acquire Jackson, followed by the Miami Dolphins (+800), Detroit Lions (+900), Tennessee Titans (+1200), San Francisco 49ers (+1300), Minnesota Vikings (+2000), New York Jets (+2200), Tampa Bay Bucs (+3500), Seattle Seahawks (+4000), Las Vegas Raiders (+5000), and Green Bay Packers (+5000).
The Washington Commanders are content with Jacoby Brissett and Sam Howell as their quarterbacks, according to general manager Martin Mayhew.
Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel indicated the team has no interest in Jackson. That’s because they picked up a fifth-year option on Tua Tagovailoa.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is always curt with the press and refused to discuss Jackson with the media.
It’s surprising to see the New York Jets are 10th on the board at +2200 odds. General Manager Joe Douglas told beat reporters that the Jets want superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers, even though it’s been a slow negotiation with the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are a long shot to add Jackson at +5000 odds.