Colts’ Chris Ballard Breaks Silence on Possible Lamar Jackson Trade

Chris Ballard

Getty Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard sent a message about quarterback Lamar Jackson on March 27.

The Indianapolis Colts appeared ready to jump off the veteran quarterback carousel this offseason. But that was before the Colts had a realistic opportunity to acquire a former MVP quarterback still in his prime.

Baltimore Ravens signal caller Lamar Jackson revealed on March 27 that he has requested a trade. The Ravens have not offered Jackson a long-term contract to his liking and placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on the 2019 MVP winner.

The Colts have been pretty silent about the potential to acquire Jackson this offseason, but general manager Chris Ballard fired a message about the possibility when speaking to ESPN’s Stephen Holder at the NFL annual spring meeting.

“Anytime a special player is available, which he is, you’ve got to do the work,” Ballard told Holder. “I’m not gonna get into deep discussions on where it’s at or what we’re doing or what we might do.

“But what I’ll tell you is he’s a really good player, really special player. But you never know how any of this will work out.”

Based on those comments, Jackson heading to the Colts is a distinct possibility.

Ballard’s Due Diligence at Quarterback

If there’s a general manager accustomed to scouting the free agent and trade market for quarterbacks, it would be Ballard. The Colts have either signed or traded for a signal caller each of the past three years.

All three quarterbacks were one-year solutions. For that reason, many speculated that the Colts would draft a young signal caller to build around for the future.

However, the Colts are in a tough spot at No. 4.

The Carolina Panthers jumped the Colts by acquiring the No. 1 pick from the Chicago Bears. The way the draft board currently looks, it’s very likely two quarterbacks will be gone in the class before the Colts select their first choice at fourth overall.

With the Colts unlikely to land either Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, it would make sense that Ballard is still interested in scouting the veteran market.

Jackson is, by far, the best quarterback available.

“But I think anytime at that position we have a chance to acquire a guy, you’ve got to do your work on it to see if it’s doable,” Ballard told Holder. “Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not.”

Lamar Jackson’s Contract Demands

The trade compensation for Jackson will be expensive. Because the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, they will receive two first-round picks even if a team signs the quarterback to a contract Baltimore doesn’t want to match.

But very likely, the biggest obstacle in Jackson coming to Indianapolis is his contract demands. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Jackson desires a deal that will break Deshaun Watson’s record contract, which was worth $230 million fully guaranteed over five seasons.

Holder reported that Jackson must lower his asking price if he wants to leave Baltimore.

“Regardless of what the Colts or anyone else might love about Lamar Jackson, the very clear stance from people here at the owners meetings I’ve talked to is that whatever contract demands he is currently making are absolutely a non-starter,” tweeted Holder.

Kenny Moore Reacts to Colts-Lamar Jackson Rumors

If any conclusion can be drawn from Ballard’s remarks to Holder, the Colts are interested but not particularly close to acquiring Jackson. That last fact, though, won’t stop social media from thinking about the possibility of Jackson in blue and white.

The Pro Football Focus twitter account tweeted a photo of Jackson in a Colts jersey on March 27. Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II joined the fun, as he retweeted the photo.

Jackson is 45-16 as a starter in the NFL. He threw a league-high 36 touchdowns with only 6 interceptions while averaging 6.9 yards per carry with 7 rushing scores on his way to the MVP award in 2019.

Last season, Jackson led the Ravens to an 8-4 record with 2,242 passing yards, 20 total touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He missed the final five regular season games and the playoffs because of a knee injury.

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