Lamar Jackson went public with a trade demand Monday, 12 days into the official start of the Jets’ Aaron Rodgers standoff with the Packers.
As a result, a popular talking point has been reinvigorated: The Jets should begin kicking the tires on the Ravens’ star quarterback. Call it a feign to scare some sense into Green Bay. Or a much-needed backup plan if the Rodgers deal falls through. Either way, many believe Gang Green should begin dancing with Jackson and his camp. It is a reasonable stance. But not one the Jets should pursue.
Jackson is a great player. But he has also missed 10 regular season games and a playoff game over the last two seasons — absences that, one could argue, short-circuited potential championship pushes in Baltimore. The Ravens collapsed out of the playoffs in 2021 without Jackson. And who knows how far they could have gone in 2022 with him.
MORE: A new amazing Daniel Snyder anecdote, courtesy of Mike McDaniel
Jackson is not a guy the Jets can afford to invest upwards of $200 million in guaranteed money in. Or to part with significant draft capital in order to acquire. If the Jets do not want to give up one first-round pick for Rodgers, they are not going to want to give up significantly more for Jackson. Which is what it would likely take.
Baltimore might bend on getting two first-rounders in return — the franchise tag compensation clause is not a hard rule — but not by much. Moreover, the Packers would never take any Jets overtures to Jackson seriously for all the above reasons. So why even try to fake it?
The Jets are going to trade for Rodgers sometime between now and the start of training camp. And they will land the future Hall of Famer on their terms. Whatever leverage the Packers have — real or perceived — has a clear expiration date. They do not want to pay Rodgers close to $60 million in guaranteed money this year and they do not want him showing up to camp and creating a circus. So a deal will get done. It is just a matter of when.
As for Jackson: The bet here is he either plays for the Ravens in 2023 or sits out the entire year. Baltimore has made it clear they do not want to trade him and they will likely match any offer sheet he gets elsewhere. But we doubt he ever gets one, because his financial demands seem to be unyielding. And no team, collusion or not, is going to meet them.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.