How Lamar Jackson could still end up playing for Ravens next year, explained

Lamar Jackson has requested a trade away from the Baltimore Ravens. Not all hope should be considered lost, though.

While Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was addressing media, Lamar Jackson sent out a Tweet to let fans know he had requested a trade from the team that gave him a non-exclusive franchise tag just a few weeks ago.

The trade request occured weeks ago, but Jackson chose to make it public on Monday.

The Tweet indicated Jackson is ready for a split, but Harbaugh said that he expects Jackson will be the team’s starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2023 season. He spoke highly of the quarterback in the process.

Those two things can’t both be true, right?

There’s a world in which the Ravens and Jackson can patch things up. A trade request might just be the catalyzing factor to get a deal done that satisfies both parties.

Here’s how Lamar Jackson could return to Ravens despite trade request

From a purely inside-the-lines perspective, the best option at quarterback for the Ravens in 2023 and beyond is Lamar Jackson. The team seems to like him, and if the contract were not an issue, Jackson also seems to want to play for Baltimore. It behooves the two sides to figure something out, finally.

The Ravens can now choose to play along with Jackson’s trade request and seek suitors in a deal that would move him to a new team. Or, they can offer him a contract he can’t refuse in an effort to patch things up with the QB.

If they decide to trade him, they very well could be starting from square one at quarterback. Their backup option is Tyler Huntley who performed admirably as a backup last season but is simply not Lamar Jackson. They could look for a QB in the draft with picks they get back in a trade (like from the Colts, potentially?) or in return for Jackson straight-up in a trade. Most likely, neither of those are exactly better options than Jackson.

Perhaps that’s why Harbaugh played it so cool with the media: He knows the Ravens have one final card left to play. They can simply say, “fine, Lamar, have your money,” and give him the deal he’s been after, or at least something close enough to sway him.

Jackson has played his final card in this saga of “to pay or not to pay” with the star quarterback. It’ll bring an end to this chapter, whether it be by the Ravens succumbing to his wants or opting to trade him.

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3 strangest players to ever play in a Packers jersey

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers center Jeff Saturday (63): Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers are one of the most historic teams in the history of the NFL. They’ve had plenty of weird stars come to Wisconsin over the years.

The Green Bay Packers have always seen like they were on the wrong side of weird jerseys. Brett Favre in a Minnesota Vikings jersey. Davonte Adams in a Las Vegas Raiders jersey. Now, we’re waiting for the next weird jersey swap as Aaron Rodgers prepares to head to the New York Jets. It’s a wild ride for Packers fans, but cutting that tension with four Super Bowl wins is easier.

However, the Packers have been just as guilty of stealing other teams’ stars. In fact, the first major free agent ever was Reggie White, one of the best defensive ends in league history. He left the Philadelphia Eagles to join the Packers in 1993.

White played for the Packers for six seasons, and some could argue he’s more known now as a Packer than anything. He won a Super Bowl in Green Bay. He set their franchise sacks record (which has since been passed twice). White was dominant with the Packers. Other additions didn’t have near the impact.

These are the most unlikely players we ever saw in a Packers uniform:

3. Jeff Saturday

Star offensive linemen will leave their home teams to play for a superstar-caliber quarterback. That’s what Indianapolis Colts star Jeff Saturday did when Peyton Manning left. The Colts basically told Saturday that it was time for him to set himself off to pasture. They were probably right, but Saturday was able to secure the bag in free agency.

He signed a two-year deal with the Packers worth $7.75 million. The Packers needed a center after Scott Wells left to join the Rams.

It was a strange season to say the least. Saturday made the Pro Bowl somehow, but he was benched in December for his poor play. Just goes to show how pointless the Pro Bowl is. Anywho, most fans don’t remember Saturday’s time in Green Bay, and he retired at the end of his first season with another season still on his contract.

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Any last hopes of Ezekiel Elliott re-signing appear completely dead

Ezekiel Elliott is so not re-signing with the Dallas Cowboys after losing his jersey number.

Any notion that Ezekiel Elliott could return to the Dallas Cowboys in his free agency has been thrown out the window, as they gave his jersey number to someone else.

It may not seem like a big thing, but this is a massive deal. It may not hurt as bad as a hall-of-fame level player on another professional sports team seeing his number go to someone else, hinting that it will not be retired in his honor, but this isn’t great for the Cowboys, or Elliott for that matter. The new No. 21 in Dallas will be a future hall-of-fame player in star cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

I understand that jerseys are rarely retired in the NFL, but handing out Elliott’s No. 21 this fast is tone-deaf and kind of embarrassing if we’re being totally honest here.

Sure, Elliott could return, but why would the former No. 5 overall pick be willing to swap numbers?

Dallas Cowboys have officially moved on from Ezekiel Elliott ever coming back

As soon as the Cowboys used the franchise tag on running back Tony Pollard, Elliott’s days in Dallas were over. Although he has had elite stretches in his pro career, Elliott may be a year-by-year player going forward. With teams on his wishlist like the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles pretty much ruling him out entirely, Elliott needs to go to the Cincinnati Bengals already.

At this point in Elliott’s career, it is better to play somewhere where he will be loved, as opposed to tolerated. Many members of Who Dey Nation happen to root for Elliott’s Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday. They have a better team than the Cowboys, all things equal. More importantly, they could really use a running back like Elliott to get them over the top. Plus, he knows Joe Burrow.

So while Gilmore wears the No. 21 jersey in Dallas as the next big star in Big D, Elliott will need to look for a new place to play because Zeke’s gotta eat. Here is to Elliott leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns next season. I hope he loves his new Cincinnati stripes and does The Ickey Shuffle every time he hits pay dirt. Elliott slamming the football down like some cold cuts would be swell.

The bigger question is if a diet of strictly cold cuts and Skyline will get Elliott to the promised land.

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Colts owner killed his team’s chances at Lamar Jackson with one comment

The Indianapolis Colts are a logical trade partner to potentially land Lamar Jackson, but team owner Jim Irsay’s comments did not help.

You would think that a quarterback-needy team like the Indianapolis Colts would have lunged at the opportunity to land a generational, MVP-winning quarterback like Lamar Jackson when he revealed he formally requested a trade on Monday.

Instead, the Colts, and specifically owner Jim Irsay, pushed themselves further away. Make it make sense!

Jackson’s trade request is weeks old, but Jackson chose Monday to let his fans know, via Twitter, that he requested a deal.

Irsay, commenting on the news, said that the price to pay Jackson doesn’t scare him, but that the guarantees he’s looking for do. Here’s what he told Zak Keefer of The Athletic:

“As an owner I do not believe in fully-guaranteed contracts. I think that a percentage is one thing, but from what I’ve seen from the NBA and baseball, I don’t see it as a positive competitively.”

Being against guaranteed contracts is one thing, but letting it be known that you have zero interest in meeting the desires of the hottest available quarterback pulls you out of the conversation to land him right away. Irsay put all his cards out on the table and showed everyone he has… Nothing.

Jim Irsay misses the mark with his philosophy on guaranteed contracts

Aside from this being a questionable statement from a negotiation and leverage standpoint, Irsay is missing the mark a little bit on his philosophy with guaranteed deals in general.

Make no mistake, guaranteed deals can be a paralyzing factor for NFL teams. Just look at the Broncos and Russell Wilson. Deshaun Watson and the Browns are still early on, but that ridiculous deal is unlikely to pan out precisely the way Cleveland might hope.

But if you want to secure a proven, MVP-winning quarterback for more than one year, a guaranteed deal is probably the standard in today’s NFL.

Billionaire owners dislike guaranteed deals in part because it hurts their liquidity. Teams need to put a substantial portion of the guaranteed portion of a deal into escrow long before it comes due. This is thanks to The Funding Rule, which has been called archaic by NFLPA President JC Tretter.

The Colts could have at least given some thought to committing to Jackson before coming out and saying they wouldn’t offer him what he’s looking for. Irsay seems to be putting his checkbook above wins. That’s not good.

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Packers GM taking the high road on Aaron Rodgers “issues”

The Packers organization addressed the Aaron Rodgers saga and sounded pretty content with how they handled things on their end.

With the drama of the Aaron Rodgers saga hopefully coming to a close, the Green Bay Packers gave their thoughts on the situation and tried to end things on a good note.

Rodgers declared his intention to play for the New York Jets weeks ago, and a Packers-Jets trade will presumably be finalized within these coming months. While some could be critical of the way Rodgers went about asking to be traded out of Green Bay, the Packers reacted coolly and calmly — from the public’s perspective anyway.

Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst had his bit to say on the drawn-out trade talks:

Gutekunst is likely referring to Rodgers’ close friendship with Pat McAfee when he says Rodgers is talking to the “media” instead of his own organization. Everyone knows where Rodgers stands with Adam Schefter.

Packers have only kind things to say after Aaron Rodgers offseason drama

This offseason, Rodgers has indeed leaked most of his thoughts and feelings through McAfee’s YouTube show, including the details of his darkness retreat and his desire to be traded to the Jets.

In the past, Rodgers has engendered a very private persona and hasn’t always been forthcoming or transparent — the whole COVID-19 vaccine debacle, for example, really brought down Rodgers’ credibility once it was implied that he misled the public about his vaccination status. The “woke mob” didn’t appreciate his intentional lack of honesty there.

In the same vein, the Packers brass likely didn’t sit well with Rodgers going off on his own to figure out his own future rather than sit down in Green Bay and have a normal, mature discussion.

However, the past is the past. As much as it would be nice to lay everything out on the table and come to an ideal solution like two rational adults, Rodgers just doesn’t function that way.

And that’s okay, according to Gutekunst. (Sense a bit of passive aggression in that sentence?). That’s okay.

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