Lamar Jackson’s contract situation is more than bizarre. The Baltimore Ravens basically told the unrestricted free agent to prove another team would give him the guaranteed money Jackson is looking for in the open market.
Jackson doesn’t have an agent. Pre-season negotiations stalled and six months later Lamar was officially awarded the non-exclusive franchise tag. If you didn’t know better, Jackson was a backup quarterback.
On social media Tuesday, several teams — not officially, but national reporters — that needed a quarterback kicked themselves out of Jackson’s draw. It was unlike anything we’ve seen and felt like there was collusion.
Some players had different reactions:
Of course, there’s a correlation between Jackson not having an agent and not being able to make a deal with Baltimore. But it’s more of a reaction to Deshaun Watson’s guaranteed demands.
How does this relate to the 49ers? Technically, there is a way for San Francisco to acquire Lamar. On the surface, you have to send Baltimore two first-round picks, one in 2023 and 2024, if you sign Jackson on an offer sheet and they decline. As we know, the 49ers are without first-round picks in this upcoming draft.
It’s the NFL, so there’s always a loophole. Teams can negotiate a deal with the Ravens where Jackson signs his tag and is immediately dealt. This would happen after the draft.
Leave it to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell to settle this madness and explain how Jackson would fit in with the 49ers:
Teams that do not have their possess the 2023 first-round pick (like the 49ers or the Dolphins) could acquire Jackson without using an offer sheet. In those cases, I would expect the Ravens to ask for something more than two first-round picks; an example might be including a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and a quarterback who can replace Jackson in the starting lineup.
You can see where this is heading.
Barnwell gave reasons why the Niners should and shouldn’t consider a potential proposal from the 49ers. The argument against acquiring Jackson is because the quarterback’s youngsters also have Trey Lance and Brock Purdy on rookie contracts:
Both quarterbacks would be much cheaper than Jackson in years to come, which is a critical factor for a team that will already have to stretch to pay its stars. Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Trent Williams and Fred Warner are already among the highest paid players in the league in their respective positions. Nick Bosa and Brandon Aiyuk become eligible for extensions this offseason, and Talanoa Hufanga will follow next year. Can the 49ers really squeeze an extra $50 million a year into the mix with Jackson?
Under that assumption, the 49ers would almost certainly have to offload one of their biggest contracts. Otherwise, Paraag Marathe has its work cut out for it.
Here’s what a potential deal could look like for both sides:
What would a deal look like? Lance should return to the Ravens, but would Baltimore feel the same way about him as Shanahan & Co. did two years ago? Both of these teams should get creative. What about Lance, Aiyuk and a 2024 first-round pick for the Ravens for Jackson and a 2024 fourth-round pick? I believe the 49ers are more likely to stay at quarterback outside of adding a veteran replacement like Matt Ryan.
Lance is guaranteed to be part of the package. This is the other piece I would have a hard time parting with. Would you rather switch from Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel? For me, it’s the latter, especially with Christian McCaffrey under contract.
And while it sounds far-fetched, with the 49ers ranked No. 15 out of 15 teams in Barnwell’s rankings, it’s a team that leaves no stone unturned.
. NFL Trade Rumors Here is comment Lamar Jackson might find in uniform des #49ers