Lamar Jackson Trade Request Sets Ravens In A Spin And The NFL On Standby

By Ian John
March 28, 2023

The free agency period in the NFL has just reached a whole new level of intriguing after the news that Lamar Jackson has requested a trade away from the Baltimore Ravens.

The former NFL MVP has been in discussions with the organisation over an extension to his current contract for the past two years, but no agreement has been reached.

With the Ravens placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, the quarterback has expressed his desire to move on from Maryland for the start of next season.

Of course, the news has caused a stir in the NFL as one of the elite, young quarterbacks in the league is now available, changing the landscape for quarterbacks massively.

The Ravens have now moved out to 40/1 with bet365 Sport to win the Super Bowl next year on the back of this news.

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How Has This Situation Come To Pass In Baltimore?

After a stunning two-season stint at his alma-mater Louisville, during which he won the Heisman Trophy in 2016, Lamar Jackson was selected with the 32nd pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Ravens.

Jackson was the fifth quarterback taken in the draft behind Baker Mayfield (1st pick), Sam Darnold (3rd pick), Josh Allen (7th pick) and Josh Rosen (10th pick)

Despite being just 21 years of age when drafted, Jackson was called upon very early into his rookie season at the Ravens, when incumbent QB Joe Flacco was injured midway through that campaign.

Jackson stepped in and led the team to the AFC North title and into the playoffs, in doing so becoming the youngest quarterback to play in a playoff game.

Despite playing just half a season in his Rookie campaign, Jackson finished with 1201 passing yards, 6 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and 695 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.

That stunning end to the season performance persuaded the Ravens to change their Joe Flacco-designed offense for one more suited to Lamar Jackson’s skills.

It certainly worked well as in 2019, Jackson had his best ever NFL season, leading the Ravens to the AFC North title once again and the playoffs.

His stellar individual campaign also saw him unanimously win the NFL MVP award, only the second time that has happened in the history of the award.

The playoffs again followed in 2020 after an 11-5 season saw the Ravens into the Playoffs behind the Steelers, although his personal numbers were down on the previous season.

He did though land his first playoff win as a QB with a 20-13 win over the Titans, but they then lost to the Bills in the Divisional round.

Since then Jackson has not played a full season for the Ravens, being restricted to 12 starts in the last two campaigns and failing to recover in time to play in the Ravens playoff game this season against the Bengals.

Contract negotiations between the player, who does not have an agent and negotiates himself, and the Ravens have continued for two years without resolution, which forced the Ravens to place Jackson as their non-exclusive franchise tag player for the 2023 season.

However, Jackson was unhappy that the Ravens refused to meet what he felt was his value for a renewed contract and just a few days ago, he requested a trade.

Why Have The Ravens Not Managed To Agree Terms With Jackson?

That is a good question, especially when the team’s entire offensive game plan is devised around utilising Lamar Jackson’s almost unique talents in the NFL.

As per his franchise tag, Jackson will count over $32.4m towards the Raven’s cap space this season, but there is no doubt that the QB will have wanted a significant increase given some of the contracts handed out to elite QBs in recent years.

Kansas City offered Patrick Mahomes a $450m, ten year deal, Josh Allen got a $258m, 6 year deal from the Bills, whule Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray and DeShaun Watson all have contracts in excess of $230m over five years.

Jackson is likely to want money around those figures and while some news stories stated he wanted it all guaranteed, Jackson himself moved to deny those accusations that he only would entertain a fully guaranteed new deal.

However with the Ravens making a move to sign Roquain Smith, their star on defense, ahead of their QB superstar, it has set a precedent which seems to have led to talks between both parties breaking down.

The Ravens may not want to hamstring themselves with cap space in future years by offering Jackson the deal he wants, especially after two less than stellar performances in the past two seasons.

And they know that if a team wants Jackson and offers the required two first round picks to get him, they may have a chance to land their signal caller of the future via the draft either in 2023 or most likely, 2024.

Who is Likely To Be Interested In Lamar Jackson?

There are a number of QB-needy teams in the NFL, many of whom may well be looking to the 2023 NFL Draft in April to pick their QB of the future.

Jackson’s potential availability could change that.

We have already seen the Carolina Panthers trade up to land the first pick in the draft, while the Houston Texans (2nd pick), Indianapolis Colts (4th pick) and the Las Vegas Raiders (7th pick) could all be interested in drafting a quarterback.

So they are four teams that would likely be interested in acquiring Lamar Jackson as QB, or at least will certainly be investigating the potential of a deal.

Other teams mooted to be interested include the New England Patriots, where Bill Belichick doesn’t seem too enamoured with Mac Jones, the Tennessee Titans, who are in the middle of a seeming rebuild and could take Jackson as their QB of the future.

You can also put the Washington Commanders in the mix too, while Tampa Bay will also be looking given that Tom Brady has now retired.

Will A Deal Get Done?

Who knows? Jackson is going to want a hefty contract to sign with another team, and it will cost that team two first round draft picks to get him most likely.

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