Lions Named Favorites to Trade for Former NFL MVP Quarterback

Dan Campbell

Getty Dan Campbell on the field for the Lions against the Eagles in 2022.

The Detroit Lions don’t figure to need a new starting quarterback for the 2023 season, but could there be a shakeup on the horizon with regard to that soon?

This week, with contract talks at a standstill, the Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on star quarterback Lamar Jackson. That means Jackson can now have contract talks with other teams. Should he sign an offer sheet, the Ravens can match the offer and keep Jackson or snag two first-round picks as compensation.

With many teams reportedly out on Jackson, one that has said nothing either way is the Lions. Perhaps some new odds might tell a story about what could be happening behind the scenes.

According to, the Lions are now the betting favorites to land Jackson in the event he does not return to Baltimore for 2023. They have current 3-1 odds, which translates to a +300 to secure Jackson.

The next closest team? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who just lost Tom Brady to retirement. They placed at 9-2. After that, the quarterback-hungry Indianapolis Colts (5-1 odds) and New York Jets (6-1 odds) round out the top four.

With Jared Goff having just finished off a career season in 2022, Detroit’s place so high on this list is curious to note. Goff threw for 4,438 yards and 29 touchdowns this season. More than that, he fits well within the community.

While Detroit might not be thinking about a long-term extension with Goff just yet, there certainly isn’t a reason for their front office to panic and shell out major assets for Jackson, even though he is an MVP-caliber player.

Time is on the Lions’ side as it relates to building their franchise. So far, the team has boosted the offense significantly. Now, the team’s 32nd ranked defense needs major help. Without that, neither Jackson nor Goff or any other quarterback will find consistent success with the team under center.

Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see the Lions atop this odds list. Clearly, folks are betting on the Lions being firmly in-play for Jackson when the offseason gets going.

ESPN Calls Lions Fit for Lamar Jackson

Would Detroit even make sense for Jackson this coming year? Many would say that’s not the case, but ESPN analyst Bill Barnwell would be likely to disagree with that particular assessment.

In a piece breaking down the fits across the league for Jackson, Detroit placed 13th on Barnwell’s list. As the writer admitted, he does see the fit for the quarterback on the Lions relative to how the team is currently constructed.

“The Lions have one of the league’s most promising playmaking corps in Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams and D’Andre Swift. They also have a top-10 offensive line, anchored by tackles Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell. Goff went from losing his way during the 2020 and 2021 seasons to playing Pro Bowl-caliber football over the last two months of 2022. Jackson would benefit from that same sort of support,” Barnwell wrote in the piece.

Additionally, Barnwell wrote in the same piece that he believes if the Lions added Jackson, they would have an MVP-caliber quarterback that cp

With all of that said, Barnwell admitted he doesn’t think the Lions would surrender a pair of first-round picks in order to get Jackson on their team. He does point out that the Lions have 48, 55 and 81 to work with if they did get involved in his pursuit.

Jackson, of course, isn’t without major talent. The 2019 NFL MVP has also been a two-time Pro Bowler, a first-team All-Pro in 2019 and has 12,209 passing yards, 4,437 rushing yards and 125 total touchdowns to his credit in the league.

Lions Trade for Lamar Jackson Seems Unlikely

This offseason, it does sound as if the Lions are prepared to land a quarterback. That player, though, feels more likely to come through the draft rather than a shakeup like a Jackson deal would provide.

The reasoning behind that isn’t just Goff’s elevated play since being shipped to Detroit. The Lions have been committed to building through the draft and building their team with their own archetype. It’s a unified approach from ownership down to the front office and coaching staff.

Once again, Dan Campbell proved this when meeting with the media on Wednesday, March 1 during the NFL combine. As the coach hinted, the Lions might be content to sign more underrated players and keep building as they have rather than making a huge splash.

“A number of ways you can go with it, but I think we both kind of came away and said ‘alright, we’re going to year three, we’ve got a little bit more wiggle room but let’s just get better. Let’s find a guy that can serve a certain type of role for us.’ Somebody (that) maybe played some ball, he can start at a certain position for us, but we don’t need to acquire these high-level, you’re paying the most for these guys because they’re rated the number one guy in free agency at that position (players). We just need to get better. Let’s just get better in an area that we need to get better at, and I think that’s always been the focus,” Campbell told the media.

Additionally, Jackson himself suffered a PCL injury late in the 2022 season which cost him time. No matter how dynamic he has been, there is a worry about him potentially wearing down over time, even though he is just 26 years old.

While none of these issues would eliminate the Lions from pursuing a bigger name like Jackson, it could show what the organization thinks of such a risky move at this point of their rebuild.

The better bet, at this point, would be to see the Lions add a quarterback at some point in the 2023 NFL draft rather than gamble on Jackson, no matter how talented he might be.