Colts’ Jim Irsay Fires Indirect Warning to QB Lamar Jackson

Jim Irsay

Getty Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay sent a candid message to the media on March 27.

Owner Jim Irsay and the Indianapolis Colts are dying to find a franchise quarterback. But apparently, Irsay may not be willing to land a long-term signal caller at any cost.

While speaking to reporters at the league’s annual spring meeting, Irsay shared his dislike of fully-guaranteed contracts in the NFL.

“As an owner, I do not believe in fully-guaranteed contracts,” Irsay told the media. “I think that a percentage is one thing, but from what I’ve seen from the NBA and baseball, I don’t see it as a positive competitively.”

Fully-guaranteed contracts have been a big topic of conversation around the NFL because the Cleveland Browns offered quarterback Deshaun Watson a five-year, $230 million fully-guaranteed deal in 2022.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN’s Jamison Hensley both reported that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is seeking a deal with a similar guarantee, which will be a problem for the Colts acquiring Jackson.

Jim Irsay’s Stance Against Fully-Guaranteed Contracts

It’s important to note that Irsay’s comments about fully-guaranteed contracts were not in response to a direct question about Jackson. Still, his message was rather clear.

“I don’t think guaranteed contracts make our game greater,” Irsay told the media. “I think it makes it worse.”

The Athletic’s James Boyd tweeted that Irsay is not alone in this opinion among NFL owners. But unlike other owners, Irsay was willing to publicly expressed his opinion on the subject.

“One thing I’ll give credit to Jim Irsay for is flat out saying he’s against fully guaranteed contracts,” Boyd posted. “All owners, except for the Browns’ owners, probably feel that way.

“No point in trying to spin it.”

Obviously, this could impact Indianapolis’ ability to land Jackson if the 2019 MVP is dead-set on receiving a fully-guaranteed contract.

Draft Compensation a Bigger Problem for Colts Acquiring Jackson?

Interestingly, when Irsay did address Jackson directly to reporters at the NFL annual spring meeting, he said the reported contract the quarterback wants isn’t the biggest problem.

ESPN’s Stephen Holder tweeted that Irsay was “emphatic” that it’s the draft capital that the team would lose in a trade for Jackson that’s the bigger issue.

The Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson this offseason. That means the Colts can actually negotiate a new deal with Jackson. But, the Ravens can match any offer, and if Baltimore declined to match Indianapolis’ offer to the quarterback, the Colts will then have to send two first-round picks to the Ravens for Jackson.

Jackson revealed in a tweet on March 27 that he requested a trade from the Ravens in early March. The quarterback is obviously trying to force himself out of Baltimore, but even with his request, the asking price for Jackson in a trade will likely start at two first-round picks.

The Colts would love nothing more than to jump off the quarterback carousel they’ve been on since Andrew Luck retired. Acquiring Jackson, who only turned 26 in January, would accomplish that and then some, as it would be one of the biggest moves of the offseason.

Jackson has passed for 101 touchdowns versus 38 interceptions while completing 63.7% of his passes for an average of 7.4 yards per attempt. He’s also rushed for 24 touchdowns and averaged 6.1 yards per carry in 70 career games.

In 2019, Jackson led the NFL with 36 passing touchdowns and 6.9 yards per rush on his way to the NFL MVP.

But what price is too high to acquire an MVP quarterback in his prime? For Irsay, it may be needing to offer him a fully-guaranteed contract.

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