Colts ‘Haven’t Ruled Out’ One Major Potential Offseason Move: Report

Chris Ballard

Getty General manager Chris Ballard and the Indianapolis Colts could still pull off one major offseason move this year.

General manager Chris Ballard of the Indianapolis Colts has kept his usual approach to the NFL offseason. The Colts have signed a few key free agents this month, but for the most part, Ballard hasn’t been super aggressive at addressing the team’s needs.

ESPN’s Stephen Holder, though, reported that an uber-aggressive move, something that would be one of the biggest moves of this offseason, is still on the table for Ballard and the Colts.

“The Colts haven’t ruled out a pursuit of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson,” Holder wrote. “Who was designated a nonexclusive franchise player,” Holder wrote.

Jackson, who won NFL MVP in 2019, is available because the Baltimore Ravens used the nonexclusive franchise tag on the quarterback. That means Jackson can speak to any team about a long-term contract as if he was a free agent this offseason.

How Lamar Jackson Would Fit With the Colts

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell ranked the Colts as the fourth-best fit for Jackson on March 7. Barnwell considered the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and New York Jets better fits.

But the truth is, former MVP quarterbacks can fit anywhere, and while he’s a veteran, at only 26 years old, Jackson would end the revolving door at quarterback in Indianapolis if the Colts acquired him.

With new head coach Shane Steichen’s success running an offense for Jalen Hurts, it seems natural that Jackson would be a great fit in Steichen’s offense.

“In Philadelphia, Steichen helped oversee an offense that combined the quarterback run concepts Jackson has thrived with in Baltimore with a more diverse RPO game and creative passing attack,” Barnwell wrote. “The hope would be that Jackson thrives in the same offense Jalen Hurts ran a year ago.”

Barnwell also called trading for Jackson “a logical Plan B” if the Colts aren’t able to acquire the No. 1 pick in the draft. They were not able to do that, as the Panthers executed a deal with the Chicago Bears for the top selection in the 2023 draft.

At the very least, two quarterbacks figure to be gone before the Colts’ No. 4 selection.

The Colts could now get aggressive in Jackson negotiations instead of resorting to the third or fourth-best signal caller in the draft.

The Big Risk With Acquiring Jackson

The reward of landing Jackson could be huge for Ballard and the Colts. With Jackson, the franchise would be set up with a quarterback who could compete for Super Bowls for the next decade.

Because of that, Jackson presents far greater upside than any of the other quarterbacks Indianapolis has acquired since Andrew Luck’s retirement.

But his downside seems to be greater too. For that reason, Holder reported nothing is imminent for the Colts on the Jackson front.

“We’re a long way from Indianapolis taking substantive steps toward acquiring the former MVP, as it would take a historic contract offer and a decision by the Ravens to not match it for the Colts to land the 26-year-old,” wrote Holder.

If will take making Jackson an offer the Ravens are unwilling to match to land the MVP quarterback, and then, the Colts will have to trade two first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall selection, to Baltimore for Jackson.

It’s a high price to pay, (literally, as Ian Rapoport reported Jackson wants a contract similar to Deshaun Watson’s record-setting deal last year), especially for a quarterback who has ended the past two seasons injured.

But having not ruled out possibly acquiring Jackson, Ballard will presumably continue to weigh those risks and rewards as the offseason progresses.

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