Nobody has made an offer for Lamar Jackson yet, but that should change, according to a two-time Super Bowl winner for the Pittsburgh Steelers. CBS Sports’ Bryant McFadden believes the San Francisco 49ers should contract the Baltimore Ravens about a deal for their QB1, especially since the Niners have received trade calls regarding Trey Lance.
McFadden, who played cornerback for six seasons with the Steelers, winning Super Bowls XL and XLIII, has suggested the 49ers ask the question about Jackson. Yet, any potential trade suitors already know “what it would take for Lamar,” after the Ravens applied the non-exclusive franchise tag to No. 8 earlier this offseason.
The tag means any team can make Jackson an offer. If he accepts and the Ravens decline to match, they are entitled to a pair of first-round draft picks.
Parting with premier draft capital is nothing new for the 49ers. They did the same thing to move up and draft Lance third-overall in 2021.
That trade may deter Niners’ general manager John Lynch from doing the same again. Especially since the 49ers “have received inquiries from several teams looking into a potential trade” for Lance, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The willingness to start Brock Purdy, the last player selected in the 2022 NFL draft, could encourage the 49ers to deal Lance for the right price. Yet, the Ravens aren’t the ones to pay it, not based on the necessary changes the team has made on offense this offseason.
Ravens Don’t Need Trey Lance
Including Lance in any deal for Jackson could help the 49ers get around giving up two first-rounders. Packaging a starter-ready quarterback with a single first-round pick might tempt the Ravens to trade if Jackson continues to stand firm over wanting a fully guaranteed contract.
On the surface, 22-year-old Lance would make sense for the Ravens as a younger dual-threat playmaker than Jackson, who’s four years his senior. The scheme fit is endorsed by Pro Football Network’s Dalton Miller, who believes the Ravens “would be another schematic fit for Lance, assuming they’d want to continue using the QB to add an extra gap to the run fit for defenses. Lance was a fantastic runner at North Dakota State, and he could immediately add that element to the Ravens’ backfield.”
It would be a strong argument if Greg Roman was still offensive coordinator for the Ravens, but he’s been replaced by Todd Monken. The latter should call a more expansive system, one led less by the run, based on his experience with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns.
Monken worked with Odell Beckham Jr. with the Browns, and the two should re-establish their rapport now OBJ is back in the AFC North. Beckham signed a front-loaded one-year contract with the Ravens in free agency and he’ll be the focal point of an improved supporting cast around Jackson.
Signing Beckham, along with acquiring Nelson Agholor from the New England Patriots, makes the Ravens’ intentions clear. Namely, to help Jackson produce more throwing the football, something Beckham knows won’t be a problem, per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
The Ravens have assembled weapons that need a proven quarterback to maximize them. Lance doesn’t qualify after making just four starts since entering the pros.
While the Ravens don’t need Lance, the 49ers could surely use Jackson’s awesome talents.
Lamar Jackson Would Make San Francisco 49ers Champions
Putting Jackson into an offense featuring versatile wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, All-Pro tight end George Kittle and Pro-Bowl running back Christian McCaffrey would surely earn the 49ers a title.
The team’s Super Bowl window would be widened by deploying Jackson’s mobility in a sophisticated offense designed by head coach Kyle Shanahan. He dissects defenses with moving pockets, play-action passes and heavy doses of zone-based running.
All of those things fit what Jackson does best, but the 49ers have been strangely reticent about approaching the Ravens to discuss a potential trade. Their inactivity is not unique, since nobody else has stepped forward to enter the Jackson sweepstakes.
The sticking point continues to be guaranteed money. Jackson turned down an offer from the Ravens that would’ve eventually paid him $200 million guaranteed, according to Rapoport, who explained the terms of the ill-fated proposal during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show.
Last year’s precedent set by the Browns when they gave Deshaun Watson $230 million up front as part of a fully guaranteed five-year deal, continues to loom over Jackson and the Ravens. The longer there’s no movement, the more the outside chance another team steps forward continues to grow.