Who’s Lining Up For Lamar?
NFL Roundup: Jackson's Confusing Free Agency; Possible Blockbuster WR Trade
As the start of free agency nears, all eyes are on quarterback Lamar Jackson’s landing spot after he has, so far, been unable to come to an agreement with the Baltimore Ravens on a contract extension.
At the franchise tag deadline, the Ravens placed the “non-exclusive” tag on Jackson.
Unlike an exclusive tag, Jackson is free to negotiate with any other team and receive an offer, at which point Baltimore would have the opportunity to match or let him walk for two first-round draft picks in exchange.
Jackson exploded onto the scene in 2019, his second year and first full season as a starter, winning the unanimous MVP after setting the NFL record for rushing yards by a QB in a season, with 1,206, and combining for 43 total touchdowns, leading Baltimore to the best record in the NFL.
Despite his success and his young age of 26, many QB-needy teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and Washington Commanders, are reportedly not expected to pursue Jackson.
While it has not been the easiest road for Jackson since his historic start, his last two seasons ending prematurely due to injury and only one playoff win in five years to his name, he remains an All-Pro caliber dual-threat playmaker that can match with any of the top quarterbacks in the league.
Jackson’s expected asking price, reportedly wanting a fully guaranteed contract, is potentially scaring off teams who may be hesitant to let Deshaun Watson’s fully guaranteed deal with the Cleveland Browns in the previous offseason become the norm across the NFL rather than an outlier.
Many questions remain about Jackson’s free agency process and will hopefully be answered in the coming weeks.
So far, so good for new Colts head coach Shane Steichen.
The former Eagles’ offensive coordinator draws some early rave reviews from inside the building, according to a story from The Athletic, with one executive co-worker calling Steichen “so f-cking smart.”
It’s been a whirlwind month for Steichen, whose offense scored 35 points in the Super Bowl, the most ever in a loss, and who then almost immediately accepted the Colts’ job.
Steichen’s final coaching staff was just unveiled Monday. None of his coaches were poached from the Eagles.
With free agency days away, the Colts are likely to release quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Nick Foles as they look to rebuild around a newer, younger signal caller.
Amidst the incessant speculation surrounding free agency, the rumor mill continued to churn on Wednesday.
Joining hosts Pat McAfee and A.J. Hawk on The Pat McAfee Show, Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins addressed the elephant in the room in regards to his immediate future. As the trade winds swirl, the five-time All-Pro emphasized focusing on the present while also overtly specifying his flexibility with a new team as it pertains to the remaining two years of his contract.
Hopkins, who turns 31 in June, is on the books for $19.4 million next season and $14.9 million in 2024.
According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Hopkins name was mentioned numerous times last week at the NFL Scouting Combine as a potential trade candidate. Considering the new regime, including general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon, the franchise could conceivably opt for a soft reset.
In his three seasons in the desert – his 2021 season was cut short due to a torn MCL — Hopkins has appeared in 35 games, corralling 221 receptions for 2,696 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Geoff Mosher, Andrew DiCecco, and Benjamin Paul all contributed to this story.
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