A new report may have slightly increased the odds of Lamar Jackson joining the New York Jets
Lamar Jackson to the New York Jets?
It’s a topic that had been sidelined for a few weeks, but after a new report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Jets fans are beginning to talk about it once again.
Fowler reported on Thursday that a team source said “it feels like anything is possible” regarding a Lamar Jackson trade.
Internal surprise over Lamar Jackson’s playoff absence and a massive gulf in guaranteed money yield this conclusion:
‘Feels like anything is possible’
Inside the awkward Jackson-Ravens standoff, and what comes next, from @jamisonhensley and me. https://t.co/l0NZ0vMGLS
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) February 23, 2023
“A couple of months ago, I would have said no way [that a trade will happen] … Now it feels like anything is possible,” a team source told Fowler in the days following Baltimore’s playoff loss.
A Lamar Jackson trade has been a rumored possibility since late in the 2022 offseason when Jackson rejected a five-year extension from the Baltimore Ravens.
Fowler shared details of Jackson’s specific contract demands, reporting that “according to a source with knowledge of Jackson’s contract negotiations, all of his counteroffers to the Ravens last year were for fully guaranteed contracts that exceeded that of [Deshaun] Watson”. Watson signed a fully guaranteed five-year contract worth $230 million.
It appears the Ravens were nowhere even close to meeting Jackson’s wishes, as Jackson was reportedly offered a contract with less guaranteed money than six current quarterback contracts.
Report: The #Ravens offered QB Lamar Jackson $113 million in guarantees initially before eventually raising it to $133 million, a source told @Realrclark25
For comparison, one of the last big money deals a QB signed is #Browns Deshaun Watson, with $230 million fully guaranteed. pic.twitter.com/dsxVSKrAu3
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 22, 2023
Speculation regarding a Jackson trade tailed off during the season, but it started back up again after Jackson finished the year by missing more games than initially expected due to his PCL injury, including the team’s playoff game in Cincinnati. Days before the game, Lamar tweeted that he had a PCL strain and he was still recovering.
Thank you everyone for your support and concerns regarding my injuries. I want to give you all an update as I am in the recovery process. I’ve suffered a PCL grade 2 sprain on the borderline of a strain 3. There is still inflammation surrounding my knee and my knee
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) January 12, 2023
Fowler reports that a team source was “shocked” by Jackson’s tweet.
Since Baltimore’s season ended, the rift between the team and Jackson has reportedly grown. This became increasingly evident over the last month, as Jackson didn’t meet any of the candidates to become his new offensive coordinator in Baltimore.
With the franchise tag period starting this past Tuesday and closing on March 7, we’re reaching a critical point in the Jackson saga. If a trade is going to happen, it would make sense for both teams to do it before free agency begins.
It was rumored earlier in the offseason that Baltimore may opt to use the non-exclusive tag on Jackson. This would allow him to negotiate with other teams while still technically being under contract. If he agreed to a contract with a new team, the Ravens could either match it or receive two first-round picks as compensation.
This would be an ideal situation for the Jets considering the Green Bay Packers might be asking for two first-round picks for Aaron Rodgers, if some rumors are to be believed.
If the Ravens opt to use the exclusive franchise tag instead, the Jets would need to negotiate trade terms with the Baltimore Ravens. Considering recent quarterback trades, this would likely require a minimum of three first-round picks and several other pieces.
Should the Jets trade for Lamar Jackson?
The asking price for Jackson will be steep. A trade would require at least two first-round picks and he still wants a fully guaranteed contract.
The fully guaranteed contract is the biggest concern for NFL teams. Jackson’s ability as a runner makes him dynamic but it also raises concerns about his durability as he has missed 11 of 35 possible games over the last two years. And, warranted or not, teams are still concerned about his ability to be elite as a pocket passer.
Still, in my opinion, the Jets shouldn’t hesitate to make a move for Lamar Jackson. Jackson is only 26 years old and is one of just two unanimous MVPs in NFL history. He’s shown consistent improvement as a passer and is second to none as a runner.
Trading up for a quarterback in the draft generally requires two first-round picks. With that in mind, giving up one more for a young MVP is an easy choice if that’s what it takes. Jackson provides a higher ceiling and longer window than either Derek Carr or Aaron Rodgers could.