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5 Potential Lamar Jackson Trade Destinations

Lamar Jackson is entering a critical offseason. His rookie contract with the Baltimore Ravens is over, and he is due for either an extension or a free-agent contract with another team. Jackson is coming off of a solid season, but another season mired in concern as he missed five games plus Baltimore’s playoff game with a PCL sprain.

In the 11 games Jackson finished, he had 2,231 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 755 rushing yards, and three rushing touchdowns. Extrapolated over 17 games, Jackson would have finished with 3,448 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and 1,167 rushing yards. However, he once again missed the final stretch of the season. In 2021, Jackson missed the Ravens’ final four games.

Jackson’s career in Baltimore is likely to continue as the Ravens hold leverage in being able to franchise tag Jackson. They would give Jackson the exclusive tag meaning that no other team could approach Jackson. Jackson does not have to sign the franchise tag, but the Ravens would be the only team able to negotiate with Jackson.

Tagging Jackson could lead to a trade, however. It is unlikely that Jackson reaches unrestricted free agency.

It is important to know that the Jackson trade would be unique compared to recent quarterback trades. Jackson is a former MVP who just turned 26. He also has dealt with leg injuries in the last two seasons.

The most comparable quarterback is likely Deshaun Watson. Watson was the same age as Jackson is now, but Watson had off-the-field concerns, an impending suspension, and had not played in a full season. Watson also has a history of leg injuries, but he completed healthy seasons in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Watson fetched three first-round picks in a deal.

Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson were also traded for multiple first-round picks, but Stafford was entering his age-33 season and Wilson was entering his age-34 season.

Let"s look at five teams who could trade for and extend the 2019 NFL MVP.

New York Jets

The Jets are the favorites to complete the trade – if it happens. The Jets have a host of draft resources, and they have a failed No. 2 overall pick in Zach Wilson. Last season, the Jets were undermined by quarterback play, and Jackson would likely put the Jets in playoff contention immediately.

The Jets have a top defense in the league, and they have a slew of young weapons including running back Breece Hall and wide receiver Garrett Wilson. The offensive line has been in flux in recent years, but they have used plenty of draft resources on players such as Alijah Vera-Tucker and Mekhi Becton.

The Jets would likely jump to being the second-best team in the AFC East, slightly ahead of the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots but lagging behind the Buffalo Bills.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders are parting ways with long-time quarterback Derek Carr, and Jackson would match the star power of the likes of Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, and Maxx Crosby in Vegas. The Raiders do not have the same defensive infrastructure as the Jets, but they do have established stars in Jacobs and Adams. Jacobs needs a new contract, but the Raiders could push their chips in again and extend Jacobs and Jackson together.

The Raiders would also likely be in on the Tom Brady sweepstakes. Unlike Jackson, Brady is likely to be an unrestricted free agent, so the Raiders could go after Brady and preserve their draft capital.

The Raiders are in a brutal division with the juggernaut Kansas City Chiefs and two teams with the pieces to be successful in the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos. Even with Jackson, the best-case scenario for the Raiders is likely a second-place mark in the division and needing to win three road playoff games to make the Super Bowl.

Detroit Lions

Of the five teams mentioned, the Lions are the most likely to stay pat. Jared Goff had an excellent season in 2022 – perhaps even better than Jackson would have done. The Lions also might elect to hold onto their draft picks to continue to bolster their defense. The offense has the tools to keep up their 2022 pace, but the defense was among the worst in the league.

However, from an entertainment perspective, the Lions might be the best spot for Jackson. They have one of the league’s best backfield duos as well as a strong stable of wide receivers. The trio of Amon-Ra St. Brown, DJ Chark, and 2022 rookie Jameson Williams is tough to match. The Lions are also one of a handful of teams who have as good of an offensive line as the Ravens.

The NFC North is up for the taking. The Lions could win the division without Jackson in 2023, but adding Jackson would likely make the favorites.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have a real shot at Jackson. They have a sturdy offensive line and young weapons including Kyle Pitts and Drake London. Arthur Smith could likely design an excellent offense for Jackson as well. Baltimore could value 2022 draft pick Desmond Ridder as a usable asset as well

The issue with Atlanta is their defense. Of the five teams on the list, the Falcons are the most barren of talent. The Raiders and Lions have some cornerstone pieces while the Falcons have little to build around. Trading for Jackson would exhaust Atlanta’s stable of draft picks that could have been used to build the defense.

The Falcons finished last in the NFC South in 2022, yes, but they were one game behind the division-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Jackson, the Falcons would likely be heavy favorites to win the division even without adding defensive talent.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers could re-sign Brady, but they could opt to splurge for Jackson via trade. The Bucs have made the playoffs three seasons in a row, and they have the personnel on both sides of the ball to be a contender if they are healthier than they were in 2022. The rushing attack is putrid, but Jackson would help. He would also have a slew of tight ends at his disposal, and one of the best receiver duos in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

The issue for the Bucs would likely be the necessary draft capital. The Jets, Raiders, Lions, and Falcons all have much more enticing picks for the 2023 NFL draft while the Bucs are sitting in the back half of every round. The Bucs also do not have a (somewhat) valuable quarterback commodity as the Jets, Lions, or Falcons have.

However, the Buccaneers would leap back to the forefront of the NFC South if they were able to swing a deal. They had a difficult 2022 season with injuries, but they still won the division with a 45-year-old Brady at the helm.

main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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