The NFL’s annual league meeting started off with some major fireworks on Monday morning and those fireworks were provided by someone who’s not even at the meeting: Lamar Jackson.
The Ravens quarterback sent shockwaves through the NFL when he revealed that . Jackson made the announcement in a tweet that he sent out at 10:48 a.m. ET, which is mostly notable because nearly every head coach in the AFC was meeting with the media when Jackson’s tweet came out.
There’s a coaches breakfast at the annual league meeting every year where members of the media can sit down with each head coach. The AFC portion of the breakfast was on Monday and most coaches were available beginning at 10:45 a.m. ET (so they were already talking when Jackson dropped his Twitter bomb).
One of the coaches who was talking when Jackson tweeted out his trade demand was new Colts coach Shane Steichen. The Colts are in dire need of a starting quarterback and as you can imagine, the media didn’t waste any time asking Steichen about the possibility of adding Jackson. Although the media tried to pry some information out of Steichen, the Colts coach only offered a vague answer when asked about the former NFL MVP.
“Lamar Jackson, you know what, we do our due diligence on every position, whether it’s through the draft or free agency, but I’ve got no update for you on that,” Steichen said, via the Indianapolis Star.
OK, so that’s not such an exciting answer, but we did get one later in the day from Colts general manager Chris Ballard. He was asked about Jackson on Monday afternoon and he offered an answer that was far more intriguing.
“Anytime a special player is available, which he is, you’ve got to do the work,” Ballard said, via ESPN.com. “I’m not gonna get into deep discussions on where it’s at or what we’re doing or what we might do, but what I’ll tell you is he’s a really good player, really special player. But you never know how any of this will work out.”
Ballard then essentially confirmed that the Colts are at least tossing around the idea of going after Jackson.
“I think anytime, at that position, we have a chance to acquire a guy, you’ve got do your work on it to see if it’s doable,” Ballard said.
So could the Colts actually make a play for Jackson?
It would definitely make some sense. For one, there’s no guarantee that they’re going to be able to land the guy they want in the NFL Draft. With the Panthers now getting the top pick and the Texans holding the second pick, the Colts are likely going to end up with the third choice of quarterbacks, which isn’t ideal.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that the Colts never really seemed to have any interest in trading up to No. 1.
“To move up there’s got to be a guy worthy of it,” Ballard said on March 1, via NFL.com. “I don’t necessarily know if (trading up is) the right course of business,”
According a March 13 report from The Athletic, the Colts didn’t look to move up to the top spot because they didn’t feel there was “a slam-dunk, sure-bet player at the top of this year’s draft.”
If you don’t trust the draft class, that leaves you with two solid options for 2023: Make a splash signing or tank through the season with hopes that you’ll earn a high pick for 2024.
Colts owner Jim Irsay isn’t afraid of making splashy moves. This team has acquired Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz over the past four years. Although none of those moves worked out, none of those players were in their prime when they got to Indy, which is where Jackson is.
Wefor Jackson and we have the Colts at No. 1 because it feels like a move that makes too much sense. The Colts need a QB, they have the cap space and they would become the instant favorite in the AFC South if they added Jackson, which are all reasons why this might be a move that they eventually make.
If the Colts do add Jackson, it’s definitely not going to be cheap. Under rules of the franchise tag, Indy can give him an offer sheet and if the Ravens don’t match it, then Jackson will head to Indianapolis. Under that scenario, the Colts would have to send two first-round picks to Baltimore.
The other option is a sign-and-trade. This would be where the Colts work out a deal with Jackson and Baltimore. The Ravens would technically give Jackson the contract, then he would sign it and get shipped off to Indy. Under a sign-and-trade, the Colts might not have to surrender two first-round picks — they would have to work out the exact terms with the Ravens — but no matter what the final cost would end up being, it would almost certainly be a steep price.