The New York Jets quarterback position debate is like a never-ending game of Wheel of Fortune, let’s see who the spinner lands on today.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson came back into the equation this week when an ESPN report quoted a Ravens team source saying:
“A couple of months ago, I would have said no way [that a trade will happen], Now it feels like anything is possible.”
That quote is actually an old one and came just days after the Ravens were eliminated from the playoffs by the Cincinnati Bengals, but with the franchise tag period upon us, it’s become relevant again.
If you read the report, it seems to suggest that the two sides are not even close to agreeing to a long-term contract extension.
The Ravens presented Jackson with a long-term deal last offseason, which would have guaranteed him $133 million, more than Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson. Jackson countered by asking for the whole $250 million to be guaranteed, which is in-line with the $230 million the Cleveland Browns guaranteed to Deshaun Watson last offseason.
A high-ranking NFL executive put it best in that article when he said:
“Just because the Browns were desperate doesn’t mean that the Ravens are. They are a stable franchise. They aren’t about to jump at something just because Cleveland did it.”
And I’m saying that as a Jets fan.
Jeremy Fowler mentioned in the article that the Ravens could give Jackson the “non-exclusive” franchise tag which would allow other teams to present an offer sheet. The Ravens would then have the opportunity to match that sheet, and if they don’t then they would receive two first-round picks.
I don’t see that happening for one very simple reason. If I’m the Ravens, I’m probably looking for more than two first-round picks for the former MVP.
The Seattle Seahawks received multiple firsts, seconds, and a combination of players for Russell Wilson last year from the Denver Broncos. The Houston Texans got three first-round picks and more for Watson from the Browns. There are plenty of examples of teams getting more for poorer players.
I think if you want Lamar Jackson, the price starts at three first-round picks and goes from there, and that’s one hell of a commitment if you need to fully guarantee a $250 million contract to a QB who’s finished the last two years missing games through injury.
The contract also seemed to be playing on his mind last year with the 5th-year player showing obvious signs of frustration on the sideline.
Jackson is an obvious talent, but how much is too much? Huge trades for QBs often come back to haunt the team who acquire them, but it’s not often a player who’s likely yet to hit his prime is moved.