Lamar Jackson may have played his last snap for the Baltimore Ravens.
The former league MVP announced this week that he has officially requested a trade amid a growing contract dispute following the Ravens placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on him earlier this offseason. For the Ravens' part, they have publicly struck a more positive tone on the situation with head coach John Harbaugh even telling reporters this week that he's still confident that Jackson will be the team's quarterback in 2023. But the road ahead is certainly murky at best.
In the event that these two sides are unable to patch things up and Jackson does find himself on a new team, that will leave Baltimore with a massive hole at quarterback. Filling it won't be too easy as we've seen just about every free agent quarterback find a new home, and the options have all but run dry.
They could roll with in-house options like Tyler Huntley or Anthony Brown, but for this thought experiment we'll be looking outside the organization. Below, we've identified a few options for the Ravens in what could soon be a post-Jackson world.
Anthony Richardson or Will Levis
Like a lot of these potential quarterback options for the Ravens, it'll really come down to which team ends up stepping to the plate for Jackson. For example, if either the Colts or Lions elect to go after Jackson, then the Ravens would be within range to select one of the top quarterback prospects in this year's NFL Draft. Indy is currently situated at No. 4 overall while the Lions will be on the clock with the No. 6 overall pick. If Baltimore, which holds the 22nd overall pick, was to acquire one of those selections, it would be in the realistic range of Florida's Anthony Richardson and Kentucky's Will Levis.
Of course, that's under the assumption the Carolina Panthers roll with Ohio State's C.J. Stroud at No. 1 and the Houston Texans take Alabama's Bryce Young second, as they do in CBS Sports NFL Draft analyst Ryan Wilson's latest mock draft. If either one of those teams go rogue and takes a different quarterback, then Stroud and/or Young could become an option for the Ravens as well.
As it relates to Richardson, he's looked at as more of a raw prospect, but one possessing tremendous talent, which would be a similar path Baltimore went down with Jackson when it selected him back in 2018. As for Levis, he is capable to rush outside of the pocket, but not to the level of Jackson or Richardson, so there would need to be a slight change to the offensive approach under new coordinator Todd Monken.
If the Ravens were able to turn Jackson into one of these young quarterbacks along with other assets (including another future first), it's not a terrible spot given the circumstances.
This is more of an addition to a piece of the blurb above. It's worth pointing out, however, that head coach Dan Campbell did shut down the idea of a Jackson pursuit, but he'd be a hard player to deny if he identifies Detroit as his preferred next chapter. If the Lions then find themselves as the landing spot for Jackson, Goff becomes an irrelevant part of their foundation.
So along with the oodles of other more sought-after parts of the compensation for Jackson, the Ravens could have the Lions throw in Goff, who is a serviceable option under center for the time being. That is especially true if the team does not want to toss the young quarterback that they hypothetically take with Detroit's first-rounder into the fire out of the gate in Week 1. Goff could serve as a bridge to whatever the team wants to do next at the position, whether that be taking a quarterback in 2023 or waiting to take one in the future.
Let's say the Ravens ship off Jackson to a team for a treasure trove of future picks that don't directly link to another quarterback (possibly a trade with the Atlanta Falcons). Under that circumstance, Eric DeCosta should jump on the phone and call up John Lynch to see what the asking price is for Trey Lance. The 49ers selected Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but have yet to really see him in action. While he came into the league with a ton of fanfare and oozing with raw talent, the team opted to let the North Dakota State product develop behind Jimmy Garoppolo during his rookie season and then, when he was ushered in as the full-time starter last year, he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2.
That injury ultimately led to the emergence of Brock Purdy, who Lynch recently said is the "leader in the clubhouse" to win the starting job later this summer during training camp. That would make Lance an expendable asset at that point, right? Baltimore could be giving up a boatload of draft picks -- like the Niners did to move up to take Lance a few years ago -- but if the asking price is reasonable the Ravens would be buying low on a quarterback with a lot of potential and will be just 23 years old by the start of next season.
There's been plenty of rumblings about the Patriots possibly making a run at Jackson, especially after owner Robert Kraft let it slip that the quarterback told a mutual friend, rapper Meek Mill, that he wants to play for New England. Whether or not the Patriots' interest in Jackson is to be believed or not, they are a trade partner equipped with a quarterback they could send back to Baltimore in Mac Jones. If Jackson were to make his way to Foxborough, Jones' time would be done and a reset with the Ravens could be an intriguing pairing for both sides.
After a promising rookie season, Jones took a step back in 2022, but a large part of the blame could be placed on Bill Belichick's perplexing decision to have Matt Patricia and Joe Judge spearhead the offense. With a more stable offensive coordinator like Monken, Jones would likely look more like the quarterback we saw in 2021 rather than in 2022, which would give the Ravens a solid player with two more seasons on his rookie contract, plus the fifth year option for 2025.
Regardless of what happens with Jackson, Bennett to the Ravens will be a popular pairing throughout the pre-draft process. That's because of Todd Monken, who was Bennett's offensive coordinator at Georgia for the last three years. Now that he's running the Ravens offense, Bennett could be a sleeper option for the team, especially if they make a deal for Jackson that doesn't result in an immediate heir apparent either in the form of an established veteran or first-round rookie. Bennett will likely be taken in the later rounds of the draft, so it wouldn't require Baltimore to immediately use whatever assets they get for Jackson to acquire him.
That said, Bennett isn't your typical rookie. He's already 25 years old, which makes him an older prospect and just around one year younger than Jackson. In theory, that should mean he'd be mature enough to come in and help a team like the Ravens right away, especially with his knowledge of Monken's offense. At its worst, Bennett is a bridge option that brings you to a high draft pick in 2024. At its best, he could keep you afloat for the next few years.
This one is a bit off the wall, but let's talk it out. The Chicago Bears weren't tempted by any of the quarterback prospects this year to move off of Fields and instead traded away the No. 1 overall pick for a bunch of assets, including the No. 9 overall pick this year and a future first in 2024. While the Bryce Youngs and C.J. Strouds of the world weren't enough to have GM Ryan Poles think about getting rid of Fields, what about Lamar Jackson? If he pointed to the Bears as his preferred destination, surely you'd at least have to have the conversation, right?
Chicago has the cap space to offer Jackson the contract he is seeking and a ton of assets to acquire him, including Fields. Neither team would have to change their offensive approach as both quarterbacks have lethal rushing ability, and the Ravens would be given a reset with another quarterback on his rookie contract. If you're Baltimore, getting Fields may be the dream scenario if you've reached the point of no return with Jackson.