The saga between Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens has loomed over the NFL’s free agency period.
It should seem like a no-brainer for a team to re-sign a 26-year old former League MVP with a unique skill-set around which their entire offense has been built. And yet, tensions between Jackson and the Ravens mounted over the course of 2022 and reached a head when the Ravens placed the non-exclusive Franchise Tag on their quarterback.
Without getting into the messy details of the situation, the two sides have their respective numbers and contract structures. They don’t seem to be particularly close together, and Monday morning Jackson tweeted out:
“A letter to my Fans
I want to first thank you all for all of the love and support you consistently show towards me. All of you are amazing and I appreciate y’all so much. I want you all to know not to believe everything you read about me.
Let me personally answer your questions in regards to my future plans.
As of March 2nd I requested a trade from the Ravens organization for which the Ravens has not been interested in meeting my value, any and everyone that’s has met me or been around me know I love the game of football and my dream is to help a team win the super bowl.
You all are great but 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”
The tweets seem to be an effort to force the Ravens’ hand with respect to potential trades. The New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts are considered to be the frontrunners to land Jackson should the Ravens decide to honor Jackson’s wishes.
But could could New York Giants see Jackson stay in Maryland and land in the NFC East? Mark Schofield brought up the Washington Commanders as a potential landing spot for the disgruntled quarterback.
The ongoing saga regarding owner Daniel Snyder and the potential sale of the Washington Commanders continues. But regarding the roster, head coach Ron Rivera spent most of his Combine talking about how the Commanders are going to enter 2023 with second-year quarterback Sam Howell as their QB1.
However, Rivera qualified that by stating that he needs to earn that spot during training camp. “We will go into OTAs, minicamp and training camp with Sam Howell more than likely QB1, and we’ll see what happens,”
Having added Eric Bienemy as their new assistant coach/offensive coordinator, expectations in Washington center on the idea of a much more creative offense, with more shifts, increased use of motion for information and impact, and a much different feel for the offense in 2023.
Adding Jackson would kick those expectations into high gear.
They also have some pieces in place on offense, including wide receiver Terry McLaurin. While the team also added Jacoby Brissett in free agency, that should not preclude adding Jackson as the starter.
Oh, and there is the Snyder factor. According to reporting from ESPN last fall, he believed finding a franchise QB would be a “silver bullet” towards saving his position in Washington.
Jackson would qualify.
Washington certainly has players on offense. Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Jahan Dotson, Logan Thomas, and Brian Robinson were a formidable 11-personnel package with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback. Adding Jackson could make those receivers that much more dangerous and their running game even more unpredictable.
Add to that the potential impact of Eric Bienemy, and Washington’s offense would probably be the scariest its been since 2012.
But, as Mark points out, the Commanders are pretty cash-strapped and would have to work some serious cap magic to strike a long-term deal with Jackson. They only have about $2 million in cap space (as of right now), and the combination of cap manipulations and picks surrendered to acquire Jackson could quickly put the Commanders in a tight bind for 2024 and beyond. Acquiring Jackson would be an immediate boon for their entire team, but might not leave them in the healthiest place for the long-term
It’s probably very unlikely that Washington would — or would be able to — make a trade for Jackson. But the possibility that the Giants might have to contend with Jackson twice a year is something we at least have to recognize.