Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson received the franchise tag on Tuesday and trade rumors continue to swirl as we get into the thick of the NFL offseason. The latest news was that the Atlanta Falcons were interested in Jackson at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this past weekend. The Falcons now appear not to be interested in Jackson, per ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
Jackson received the tag on Tuesday and that is worth $32.4 million for the 2023 NFL season. The idea is for the Ravens to find a trade partner and that team will give Jackson the extension he’s been looking for since this past offseason with Baltimore. If a deal isn’t struck, the Ravens will operate with Jackson as their starting QB this upcoming season and he’d become an unrestricted free agent in 2024.
Jackson won NFL MVP in 2019 in his second year in the League. In that season, Jackson threw for 36 TDs and over 3,000 yards while also rushing for over 1,200 yards and seven TDs to lead the Ravens to a 14-2 record before losing in the playoffs. Jackson has regressed the past few seasons, most notably as a pocket passer. The opposite side of that argument is the Ravens’ lack of receiving options for Jackson. Over the past two seasons, Jackson has combined for just over 5,000 passing yards with 33 TDs and 20 INTs, his QBR sitting below 60 in both seasons.
The Falcons are in need of a QB after Marcus Mariota started the bulk of the games in 2022. Desmond Ridder is expected to compete for the starting job this offseason. Atlanta would be wise to bring in a future QB or another stop-gap if Ridder is the guy who they want to develop and become the starter. In four games, Ridder posted a 86.4 passer rating on 115 attempts. ATL has a nice core receiving group led by WR Drake London and TE Kyle Pitts. The key is to get the QB of the future to develop with the receivers.
Unless the Falcons see Jackson developing back into a serviceable pocket passer, he isn’t the answer. Jackson will always do more damage with his legs, which limits his ceiling as a starting QB. Perhaps it is the Ravens’ fault and Jackson just needs better weapons and a better passing offense. Only time and whichever team Jackson lands on will tell.