NFL News & Analysis

Lamar Jackson requests trade: Colts, Lions and Commanders among top landing spots for former NFL MVP

• Trade request: Lamar Jackson revealed on Twitter Monday that he requested a trade from the Baltimore Ravens on March 2.

Indianapolis Colts are an ideal fit: The Colts have the offensive minds, talent and cap space to acquire and fully take advantage of Jackson's skill set.

Washington Commanders would represent a huge upgrade at WR for Jackson: The Commanders' offensive weapons would provide Jackson with a gold mine of offensive talent that he could leverage to find success in the NFC East.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The Lamar Jackson sweepstakes just got a lot more interesting.

On Monday, the Baltimore Ravens star quarterback announced on Twitter that he requested a trade from the team that drafted him on March 2.

This date is important, as it came just five days before the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on the 2019 MVP for the 2023 season. Jackson is owed $32.4 million on the tender if/when he ultimately signs it, and the deadline for Jackson to sign a multi-year contract is July 15.

The NFL owners meetings are taking place this week, and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was in the middle of a media availability when Jackson posted to Twitter. Harbaugh told reporters that he anticipates Jackson being on the roster in Week 1.

A couple of procedural notes:

1. According to Article 9, Section 3(h) of the NFL collective bargaining agreement, the Ravens cannot receive trade compensation of more than the CBA-mandated two first-round picks.

2. A team can wait until after the 2023 NFL Draft to sign Jackson to an offer sheet, with 2024 and 2025 first-round picks then becoming the compensation.

3. A team cannot send first-round draft picks acquired from another team unless those picks fall higher than their original slot. For example, the Detroit Lions could send the No. 6 overall pick they acquired from the Los Angeles Rams, though they wouldn’t want to do that. On the flip side, the Saints could not send the No. 29 overall pick that originally belonged to the San Francisco 49ers.

Lamar Jackson: Passing/rushing stats and rank among quarterbacks since 2019 (regular season only)
Stat Lamar Jackson Rank
PFF grade 90.4 8th
Big-time throw rate 5.1% 11th
Yards per attempt 7.4 20th
Adjusted completion % 75.0% 24th
Missed tackles forced 136 1st

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are sitting with the No. 4 overall pick, with the QB-needy Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans ahead of them in the draft. The No. 3 spot — currently held by the Arizona Cardinals — is also a prime trade-up spot for any other teams looking to come up and add their signal-caller of the future.

Indianapolis did not come out and say that it would not be in the market for Jackson’s services — as many other teams did — and its lack of aggression in moving up in the draft feels notable.

Owner Jim Irsay wants to run the football and play a smashmouth brand of the game, a point he has made quite clearly. And who better to do that with than Jackson?

New head coach Shane Steichen helped Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts ascend to new heights in 2022, leading a dynamic offense all the way to the Super Bowl with a passing and rushing attack that put opposing defenses in a bind.

One note on the frequently discussed escrow rule: The Colts, or any team, would not need to put any cash into escrow for a hypothetical Jackson contract until March 2024, so they have time to save up in the meantime.

Detroit Lions

The Lions have a solid starting quarterback in Jared Goff, who finished the 2022 season on quite a tear, but the former No. 1 overall pick has just two years remaining on his current contract. It’s fair to wonder if the team views him as good enough to win on a deal closer to the top of the market as opposed to the discounted deal they inherited from the Los Angeles Rams.

Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson elected to return to the team in a move that surprised many across the NFL. It’s entirely possible Johnson just wants to wait for a better opportunity, as many of the head coach openings this offseason were far from attractive, but perhaps he wants a shot at coaching an exciting young prospect or a one-of-one talent like Jackson.

Washington Commanders

Here, Jackson doesn’t have to travel far, staying in the DMV area and landing with a team that would have, by far, the best wide receiver corps he’s ever played with. Potentially outgoing owner Daniel Snyder is the key here — would he make this gigantic swing right before selling the franchise?

It makes a lot of sense. First, he could spite the other owners on the way out the door if he agrees to another contract with full guarantees well beyond the standard. Secondly, he could certainly go back to the current bidders and ask for even more money if his asset now has a 26-year-old franchise quarterback with an MVP to his name.


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