Proposed Trade Lands Colts $32 Million Star QB

Indianapolis Colts

Getty The Indianapolis Colts have been linked to a star quarterback available on the NFL trade market.

The Indianapolis Colts appear dead set on drafting a quarterback this offseason. But if general manager Chris Ballard is willing to dip into the veteran quarterback well one more time, he could possibly land one of the best signal callers of the last five years.

The Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson. While that means he isn’t a free agent, Jackson is allowed to negotiate with other teams to essentially work out a trade to another organization.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell called the Colts one of the best fits for Jackson and proposed Indianapolis sending the Ravens a pair of first-round picks for the 2019 MVP quarterback.

“Irsay has indicated he wants a long-term solution at quarterback and already has hinted toward an interest in Alabama’s Bryce Young, which can only do wonders for the Colts and general manager Chris Ballard as they try to negotiate a trade up from No. 4 to No. 1,” Barnwell wrote. “If they strike out and don’t think they can land a quarterback they love, a logical Plan B might see them try to acquire Jackson from the Ravens.”

Ravens Place Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag on Lamar Jackson

Under the non-exclusive franchise tag, Jackson is permitted to negotiate with other teams, but the Ravens also have the right to match any offer the quarterback receives from another organization.

If the Ravens don’t match the contract, Baltimore will receive two first-round picks from Jackson’s new team.

While sending a top 5 pick for a veteran quarterback is a high price to pay, two first-rounders for Jackson is cheaper compensation than what the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos gave up for Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson last year.

It could also be less than what the Colts would need to send to the Chicago Bears to acquire the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft for the rookie quarterback of their choice.

Those facts make Jackson a possibility to the Colts this offseason. Although he’s a veteran like Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan, who were failed trades for Indianapolis, Jackson is still in his prime at 26 years old.

Jackson has posted a 63.7% completion percentage with 101 passing touchdowns versus 38 interceptions in 70 career NFL games. He also has 24 career rushing touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per carry.

The biggest on-the-field concern is his health. Jackson ended the 2021 and 2022 seasons on injured reserve with leg ailments. He’s missed eight games over the past two years.

The Colts must be confident Jackson will be healthy going forward to justify acquiring him for two first-rounders.

How Jackson Could Fit With the Colts

The Colts don’t have the most appealing offensive roster for Jackson, but Indianapolis has the right coaching staff for the 2019 MVP winner.

New Colts head coach Shane Steichen has experience working with several different types of quarterbacks, including the athletic Jalen Hurts with the Philadelphia Eagles.

“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.”

Steichen shared what he’s looking for in Indianapolis’ next quarterback during his introductory press conference. Jackson sounds like a fit.

“Accuracy, decision-making and the ability to create are the three things that I look at in a quarterback,” Steichen told the media. “I think those three things are very important, but obviously, above the neck, the players that I’ve been around — Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert and Philip Rivers — they all have one thing in common: They’re obsessed with their craft. If you can find that in a quarterback, you’ll probably have some success.”

Barnwell ranked the Colts as the fourth-best fit for Jackson this offseason. The only teams Barnwell rated as better fits for Jackson than the Colts were the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and New York Jets.

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