Falcons Owner Makes Telling Comments on Potential Lamar Jackson Trade

Lamar Jackson and Desmond Ridder

Getty The Atlanta Falcons have made a decision about pursuing a trade for Lamar Jackson.

Lamar Jackson could still suit up for a new team during the 2023 NFL season, but it won’t be the Atlanta Falcons. Not based on the words of owner Arthur Blank, who explained why the NFC South franchise won’t pursue a trade for the starting quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens.

Blank made specific reference to Jackson’s playing style and recent injury history, per Josh Kendall of The Athletic:

The Falcons have long been considered a logical landing spot for Jackson, who has found his market to be curiously cold, despite having taken to Twitter to reveal he’s asked the Ravens for a trade.

Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta doesn’t need to grant the request when he’s already applied the non-exclusive franchise tag to Jackson. The latter can listen to offers, but any team that comes to terms with the 26-year-old will have to send two first-round draft picks to the Ravens.

It’s beginning to look like no suitor will emerge who’s willing to pay such a high price for a gifted QB1 who carries more than a few risks.

Chief Suitor Already Backing Away From Lamar Jackson

There have been many scenarios sending Jackson to Atlanta this offseason. One such proposal involving the Falcons’ eighth-overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft was outlined by Marcus Mosher of Pro Football Focus back in January.

Trade talk involving the Falcons was fuelled earlier the same month, when Jeff Schultz of The Athletic mentioned Blank’s pursuit of Deshaun Watson last offseason. As Blank has since noted, he thinks things were “very different” with Watson, who signed a contract with the Cleveland Browns paying a record $230 million fully guaranteed.

Even so, the Falcons and Jackson rumors wouldn’t go away. Heavy’s Senior NFL Reporter Matt Lombardo revealed a league source told him “the Lamar Jackson conversation between the Ravens and Falcons progressed tremendously,” during the Scouting Combine.

A top-10 pick and ample salary cap space made the Falcons look like an ideal trade partner. Yet, the franchise has subsequently invested in several free agents, with former Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell set to be the next new arrival at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:

If the Falcons are out of the running, what’s left for Jackson? His options appear to be dwindling.

Lamar Jackson Market Seemingly Shrinking Daily

The annual NFL owners meeting was unkind to Jackson, at least in terms of generating interest in a trade. As ESPN’s Jamison Hensley reported, “on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions joined the Washington Commanders, New York Jets and Carolina Panthers as teams that have stated they will not pursue Jackson, who does not have an agent and is representing himself.”

It’s a strange state of affairs considering Jackson is arguably the most dynamic dual-threat playmaker at his position in the game. Those same dynamic talents can be a problem when Jackson is exposed to more hits than most quarterbacks.

There’s a link between how often he runs and the ankle and knee injuries that interrupted his last two seasons. A PCL injury kept him out of the final six games last season, including the 24-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card Playoffs.

The Ravens went 2-4 without Jackson in 2022, only marginally better than the 0-5 record the team stumbled to sans its signal-caller to close out the 2021 season. It’s obvious the Ravens need Jackson to be successful, but it’s equally clear they pay a heavy price during his growing absences.

There’s another likely reason why teams aren’t queuing up to trade for Jackson’s services. He wants a good portion of the money and years in his next contract to be fully guaranteed, a risky proposition for any owner to rubber stamp.

If teams want to make sure the unprecedented deal Watson got remains an outlier, leaving Jackson in limbo would send the necessary message to every QB wanting fully guaranteed cash.

As Hensley noted, “the deadline for Jackson to sign a multiyear offer sheet is July 17,” and it’s beginning to look increasingly likely he’ll only receiver such an offer from the Ravens.

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x