Lamar Jackson was the talk of the NFL, and thanks Robert Krafts reported comments on MondayThings are heating up for the 26-year-old former league MVP, especially when it comes to the Patriots merger.
Jackson has guaranteed $32,416,000 in non-exclusive prize money for 2023, and that’s saying something.
For starters, this means the Patriots would have to be able to get at least close to it to trade directly for him. A revised deal could be in the works now, but the nonexclusive label means the Patriots would have to work out an offer sheet for Jackson.
The Ravens would have an opportunity to keep up, and if not, the Patriots would kiss their 14th overall pick of the 2023 NFL draft and another future first bye.
If Jackson decides he ultimately wants to join the Patriots, he could theoretically agree to a team-friendly extension in 2023 that would lower his initial cap hit and get him long-term without the Patriots having to trade two firsts for him. Maybe another player could be thrown in as compensation.
There’s also value in being totally patient and waiting until May, which would push those premium draft picks back to 2024 and 2025. That would allow the Patriots to pick Jackson while also filling a need in this year’s draft.
The Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal reports that the Patriots are not expected to pursue Jackson, but this is clearly a fluid situation with many moving parts.
If the Patriots have decided to go after Jackson, there are three ways they could win him over.
Delete Cap and sign Lamar Jackson for an offer sheet
The first option is the most obvious, front and middle option on the table. The Patriots could free up the Cap space they needed. That would require more gaps to be added to the roster, but if you’re optimistic, some of those gaps have already been filled with Riley Reiff (Trent Brown), Mike Gesicki (Hunter Henry), Juju Smith-Schuster (DeVante Parker, though not) filled one-to-one) and a potential replacement for Deatrich Wise in the draft.
The Patriots would also likely need to lengthen older veteran players by adding more dead money and idle years. They have plenty of room to do so after this season, with very little on the books in 2024, 2025 and 2026 aside from rookie deals. The Patriots have signed short-term contracts, so this could be an option
Jackson would likely make $45 million a season, and while he’s not fully guaranteed it, chances are he’s guaranteed a large chunk.
If the Patriots make room and sign Jackson to an offer sheet, they would also drop the No. 14 overall pick in 2023 and a first-round pick in 2024 in return.
And that’s when the Ravens disagree with the offer sheet.
All of this carries a risk. If Jackson returns to the Ravens, things could go wrong in New England with Mac Jones. So you have to be confident that a move would take place.
Act for Lamar Jackson’s rights and negotiate a new deal
One option could be to work directly on a deal with the Ravens for Jackson’s rights. Since it’s the new league year, they need to make enough room to absorb his $32 million-plus cap hit before they can negotiate a new deal that would likely see them defer 2023 money to future years.
Jackson would have to demand a move to the Patriots, otherwise he’ll give the Ravens every leverage to hold out as long as possible.
Jackson’s request to join the Patriots would ultimately cause the price to go down a bit, and the Patriots could have a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick along with a 2024 first-round pick and a 2024 second-round pick. Send pick from 2024 to get the deal across the line. All of that would also include a new contract for Jackson.
Trade Mac Jones and Future Picks for Lamar Jackson and negotiate a new deal
This option makes the most sense if the Patriots want to acquire Jackson outright and bypass the entire bidding process.
Trading Mac Jones and a 2023 third-round pick, a 2024 first-round pick, and a 2024 second-round pick might be tempting enough for either side. After all, if you get Jackson, you have no reason to keep Jones.
If you’re the Ravens, why not add a promising quarterback who has a rookie deal and try to reinvent your offense?
Almost every trade option Jackson is involved in ultimately spells the end for Jones in New England. So moving him here kills two birds with one stone while adding a generational talent to Jackson.
Source : sports.yahoo.com