With Tom Brady announcing his retirement, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is unquestionably the top NFL quarterback who requires a new contract this offseason.
Jackson just completed the fifth and final season on his rookie contract. The 2019 league MVP could hit free agency this offseason, though if he ends up leaving the Ravens, a trade is a far more likely scenario.
If the Ravens and Jackson can’t reach an agreement on a deal, GM Eric DeCosta could put the franchise tag on his star quarterback and buy himself more time to negotiate a trade. And if Jackson hits the trade block, there won’t be a shortage of teams interested.
Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post (h/t Timm Hamm of Raven Country from FanNation)proposed a scenario that would see the Atlanta Falcons make a move for Jackson one year after missing out on the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes:
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“Fed up after two years of fruitless extension negotiations, the Ravens franchise-tag Jackson.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank — who built a close friendship with Michael Vick — sees Jackson as a carbon copy and OKs dealing three first-round picks and fully guaranteeing a new contract, copying the (Cleveland Browns’) move to beat the Falcons in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes last offseason.”
The Falcons got uneven play from 2022 free agent signing Marcus Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder, whom the Falcons selected in round three at No. 74 overall. With plenty of cap space in their back pockets, the Falcons could definitely afford a move for a top-tier quarterback like Jackson.
After failing to land Watson last offseason, the Falcons decided to trade longtime starter Matt Ryan over to the Indianapolis Colts, thus signaling the beginning of a new era in Atlanta.
With the No. 8 pick in this year’s draft, the Falcons could also try to trade for a quarterback. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to move up for C.J. Stroud (Ohio State) or Bryce Young (Alabama), but Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson could be available.
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