Top Landing Spots for Lamar Jackson
Jack takes a look at the four most likely teams to land the 2019 NFL MVP heading into next season.
The NFL offseason is always one of the most exciting times of the year, and so far, this offseason has been very exciting to follow. Perhaps the biggest storyline of this year’s NFL offseason is the Lamar Jackson situation with the Baltimore Ravens.
As many know by now, the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on their star quarterback, meaning Jackson is free to speak with any NFL team to seek out a new contract. However, due to the tag placed upon him, if Jackson accepts a contract with a team other than the Ravens, the Ravens will have an opportunity to match the contract that he has been offered by his new team. If they do not match the contract, Jackson will be “traded” to the team of his choice for a package of two first-round picks. This article will take a look at some potential landing spots for the 26-year-old former MVP should he leave Baltimore.
Possibly the team that has been linked to Jackson the most this offseason has been the Atlanta Falcons. Although they originally announced that they would not be pursuing Jackson, there is a chance they are simply waiting until after the NFL draft to make their move. What makes the Falcons such an obvious landing spot is that they currently have the fourth most available cap space in the entire league, which makes it possible for them to afford the expensive contract that Jackson would command. The Falcons also currently hold the eighth overall pick in this year's NFL Draft, which likely isn't high enough to select one of this draft class's top quarterbacks.
The Falcons' offense currently has a ton of young talent, including wide receiver Drake London, running back Tyler Allgeier and tight end Kyle Pitts, who is returning from an injury that ended his season prematurely. Adding Jackson would allow the Falcons to expedite their rebuild and possibly even contend for the NFC South title as soon as next season.
There might not be a team more desperate to find their long-term quarterback than the Indianapolis Colts. Which is exactly why they should enter the Lamar Jackson sweepstakes.
The Colts currently hold the fourth overall selection in this spring’s NFL Draft, so it is very possible they draft the quarterback of their choice this spring. But even if they do land the top quarterback on their draft board, it is possible that he never becomes what Jackson has already proven he can be. Imagining Lamar Jackson and Jonathan Taylor in the same backfield has to be music to Colts’ fans' ears, and it might just become a reality this offseason.
The other AFC South team that could consider perusing Lamar Jackson is the Tennessee Titans. The Titans quarterback situation is an interesting one to follow. Current starter Ryan Tannehill is now 34 years old, and rookie Malik Willis did not look ready for the NFL at all when he played last season.
The Titans' new general manager Ran Carthon has been clearing some cap space to start the offseason, which has caused the Jackson to Tennessee rumors to gain traction. However, it is hard to predict exactly what the Titans are planning to do as they have cut most of their veteran starters and have even been rumored to be looking to trade away star running back Derrick Henry. Despite all the uncertainty around the state of the roster, it is possible that the Titans’ new general manager will want to secure his quarterback of the future in Lamar Jackson.
The Commanders made a major offensive coordinator hire this offseason by hiring former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to be their assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. The Commanders have also been very vocal about their commitment to their young quarterback Sam Howell who they drafted in the fifth round of last year's NFL draft.
However, that should not stop them from at least exploring the possibility of adding Lamar Jackson to their offense. Washington's offense currently features a solid group of receivers headlined by Terry McLaurin, as well as a group of very talented running backs and a solid offensive line. Jackson could be the missing piece Washington needs if they want to compete in a tough NFC East division this coming season.
The most boring, but perhaps most likely, solution to the Lamar Jackson storyline is for him to re-sign with Baltimore this offseason. He could also just play the season under the franchise tag, leaving the whole situation to be revisited once again next offseason.
It makes a ton of sense for the Ravens to keep Jackson around given the state of their division. The Bengals are going to be very good as long as Joe Burrow is under center, the Steelers are a team that appears to be on the rise, and the Browns should be a solid team next season as well. If Jackson leaves, the Ravens could be looking at a fourth-place finish in the AFC North next season. Lamar Jackson has had an extremely successful career in Baltimore so far, including an MVP award in 2019. It is possible that new offensive coordinator Todd Monken will reignite the Ravens' offense and gets Jackson back to that MVP level we know he can reach.