The NFL Draft has arrived, and because of that, the rumor mill around the league is working overtime. Now that Aaron Rodgers is officially a New York Jet, the biggest storyline to pay attention to is the contract situation with Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson is sticking to his guns about wanting over $200 million guaranteed, and the Ravens have not relented on their desire not to participate in a contract anywhere in that neighborhood. However, another “suitor” has entered the picture, with reports popping up just hours before day one of the draft that the San Francisco 49ers have shown interest by “kicking the tires” on acquiring Jackson.
[Updated] Lamar Jackson received a five-year, $260 million contract extension from Baltimore before the Draft began.
This rumor is intriguing for many reasons, but mainly because a dynamic, top-tier quarterback is all the Niners are missing. Imagine an offensive backfield featuring Jackson and Christian McCaffrey. Defensive coordinators would be crapping themselves at the mere thought of game planning against them. Jackson would finally be throwing to a proven group of pass catchers in Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk. Unless the latter is part of this or any other potential trade since that rumor is also floating around. Even without Aiyuk, Jackson to the 49ers would send massive shockwaves through the league and likely make the Niners big-time favorites to represent the NFC in next year’s Super Bowl.
A QB for QB swap, plus picks?
Of course, any trade for Jackson on San Francisco’s part would likely involve Trey Lance heading to Baltimore. If the Ravens trade Jackson to SF and don’t demand Lance in return, there should be significant questions about what’s happening in Baltimore’s front office. Earlier this week, 49ers GM John Lynch said the team is not “actively shopping” Lance. But if these reports are true about them looking into a deal for Jackson, there’s no way Lance’s name hasn’t come up in those conversations.
“I think there’s a lot of smoke, really, and that it hasn’t been extremely active,” Lynch said. “And it’s not like we’ve put it out there that, hey, we’re taking offers for Trey, call 1-800. It’s not been the process. People’s job in this is to ask questions. Has that happened on a couple occasions? Sure. But it hasn’t been that substantive.”
While the prospect of the Niners landing Jackson is exciting, it seems far-fetched on so many levels. Jackson has not, and probably will not, let up on the amount of guaranteed money he wants in his next contract, and that feels like a price tag San Francisco won’t be willing to reach for anytime soon. It’s fun to think about and play fantasy GM with that thought, but a lot will need to change for this deal to come to fruition.