Lamar Jackson Still Negotiating With Ravens After Trade Request As Colts Express Interest In QB

Free agent quarterback Lamar Jackson decided to drop a bit of a bombshell yesterday right at the time that his intended head coach, the Baltimore Ravens’ John Harbaugh, was speaking to the media at the annual league meetings. He revealed that he requested to be traded nearly three weeks ago.

The Ravens applied the non-exclusive franchise tag to Jackson, which he has yet to sign. The non-exclusive tag allows other teams to sign him to an offer sheet, which Baltimore would then either choose to match to retain the player or to accept two first-round draft picks in compensation. The Ravens could also trade Jackson on their own by working out an arrangement themselves.

In spite of the news that Jackson revealed, Harbaugh, who learned of the Tweets in real time, continued to maintain that he anticipates retaining the quarterback for the future. “It’s a monetary thing”, he said, almost undoubtedly rooted in the full guarantees included in the team’s offers. Jackson himself has indicated he has not been offered more than $133 million guaranteed, presumably on a contract worth in total at least $230 million, if not $250 million or more.

What happens next, though? Even though Harbaugh admitted that he hasn’t spoken directly to Jackson for a bit, Ian Rapoport reports that Jackson has been in negotiations with the Ravens as recently as last week. But there are other teams seemingly expressing some interest in him, in some way, shape, or form.

In perhaps the most unusual connection, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft revealed that he received a text from rapper Meek Mill informing him that Jackson wanted to play for the Patriots. He told reporters that any such decisions would be in the hands of head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick. So would Belichick be interested in Jackson?

Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard did acknowledge some level of interest. “Anytime a special player is available, which he is, you’ve got to do the work”, he said, via ESPN. “If you don’t feel like you have one that can absolutely change the franchise in terms of leading you every year, I think you’re always going to feel some pressure to get that player right”.

Others have spoken otherwise. With the New York Jets hairline deep in negotiations to acquire Aaron Rodgers general manager Joe Banner said that “it would be disingenuous and negotiating in bad faith if we went down that path”.

The fact that Jackson has continued to negotiate with the Ravens strongly indicates that the matter is, as Harbaugh said, one of money and not a desire to find another team in general. Yet at some point, he has to sign some kind of deal somewhere or he’s going to guarantee that he has nothing, as opposed to $133 million or more.

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