The door is open for Lamar Jackson to leave the Baltimore Ravens, and the Detroit Lions keep popping up as a potential suitor.
If the Baltimore Ravens somehow bridge a reported signficant gap on a long-term deal, or they just franchise tag him, then the conversation will become moot. But as we sit right now, Lamar Jackson is a free agent and is available until he’s not. A tag-and-trade is also a possibility.
For some Lions fans, it’s Jared Goff or bust under center in 2023–and beyond. The big picture reality is his future in Detroit beyond next season is a question, and he’ll need to be upgraded on if the team wants to reach its absolute ceiling. Still, even the flickering idea of Jackson does not appeal to some.
Back in January, Pro Football Focus had the Lions on a list of three potential trade scenarios for Jackson. It’s obviously expensive, and that’s before ponying up a long-term deal for the 2019 NFL MVP.
Getting Jackson would be a very bold move for the Lions. That’s not to say it shouldn’t be on the radar somewhere though.
Lions keep popping up on lists of possible suitors for Lamar Jackson
Ian Wharton of Pro Football Network had what could be called a post-Super Bowl list of teams who could trade for Jackson. There are some interesting inclusions you may not see anywhere else, and some usual suspects.
Here’s what Wharton wrote about the Lions.
"Could the Lions be willing to cash in on Jared Goff’s big bounce-back year and upgrade the position with Jackson? Goff was solid last year, but the idea of giving OC Ben Johnson a dynamic dual-threat in Jackson and a ton of speed and playmaking is tantalizing.The Lions would immediately have a championship-caliber offense. Acquiring Jackson significantly raises the ceiling of an already very good unit. The problem with Goff is his ability to perform outside of a structure and deal with pressure. The Rams felt they couldn’t win a Super Bowl with him and immediately won after upgrading to the more-dynamic Stafford.Though the Lions could draft an eventual replacement for Goff with their sixth overall pick, they could package picks 6 and 18 in this class, plus any number of other picks to land Jackson. They could either send Goff to the Ravens or reroute him elsewhere for additional draft ammunition. In return, the Lions would become a must-watch team with deep playoff aspirations.Detroit still needs to revamp its defense before reaching the big game, but landing Jackson would significantly bolster its ability to compete with the NFL’s elite."
Andrew Gillis of Cleveland.com has the Lions on his recent list of possible suitors for Jackson.
"LionsIf the Ravens want to retool in the draft, the Lions are one of the most attractive dance partners they could find.The Lions have two first-round picks (sixth and 18th), as well as two second- and two fourth-round picks. With an extra third-round pick next year, the Lions have the assets to make a move for Jackson if they desire.While the Lions were, statistically, one of the better offenses in the sport in 2022, Jared Goff to Jackson would certainly represent an upgrade at the position. With Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jamaal Williams, D’Andre Swift, and second-year Jameson Williams as some of his weapons, it’s not hard to see Jackson thriving as a Lion."
Cody Williams of FanSided had the Lions on a recent list of potential trade packages for Jackson. In that scenario, Detroit would give up the No. 6 overall pick, their second-round pick this year via the Vikings and a 2024 first-round pick. This year’s picks in the hypothetical deal are the extra ones the Lions have in the first two rounds, via the Matthew Stafford and T.J. Hockenson trades. The 2023 draft capital bucket would not be emptied, with two top-50 picks remaining in that scenario.
For some, this is all just speculative, or even click-bait, smoke attaching Jackson to the Lions. But a quarterback the caliber of Jackson rarely feels this available. Trading Goff is implied with the idea of acquring Jackson, of course.
Any team who can realistically consider an upgrade from their current quarterback shouldn’t totally rule out a pursuit of Jackson right now. Like it or not, the Lions are on that list of teams.