On Monday morning, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson took to Twitter to let the world know that he requested a trade from the Ravens on March 2nd. Almost immediately after Jackson’s Twitter thread, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh, at his media availability during the NFL owners' meetings, stated that he does expect the former MVP to be the Ravens’ starting quarterback in Week 1.
Still, that doesn’t change the fact that Jackson’s rights are only held by Baltimore through the non-exclusive franchise tag, which allows any team in the league to attempt to sign him to an offer sheet. If the Ravens choose to not match the offer sheet, Jackson would be allowed to leave Baltimore in exchange for two first-round picks, a similar haul to what the Seattle Seahawks received for Russell Wilson and what the Detroit Lions received for Matthew Stafford.
Jackson’s availability is just about the last alternative quarterback route for the New York Jets, who have sold themselves out this offseason to clear a path for Aaron Rodgers. Two weeks ago, Rodgers went on The Pat McAfee Show to announce that he planned on playing with the Jets in 2023. One problem: New York and the Green Bay Packers can’t see eye-to-eye on compensation. Even general manager Joe Douglas admitted that on Monday when he said the Packers’ proposed trade offers are “not where we need to be right now.”
Despite never mentioning Rodgers directly by name, Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh both answered questions about the quarterback while down in Arizona. Saleh said there’s no urgency to make a trade for Rodgers immediately, as he already has experience in offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s system from their time together in Green Bay.
The way each of the Jets’ leaders spoke about the situation made it seem like Rodgers joining the team was inevitable, even when the topic of Jackson was brought up. When the idea of pivoting to Jackson was mentioned, Douglas stated that it would be “in bad faith” to have conversations with Jackson when they’ve already targeted Rodgers. On one hand, I’m sure that makes Rodgers happy. On the other hand, I bet that sounded like music to Gutekunst’s ears.
Speaking of which, Gutekunst will be speaking to the media later tonight while Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is on the docket for Tuesday. Hopefully, by then, the Jets will have given up that first-round pick in exchange for Rodgers so we can put an end to all this. I wouldn’t count on it, though.