Why The Colts Are Worth Keeping An Eye On For Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson, Colts
NFL Analysis Network

The offseason quarterback carousel in the NFL has resulted in some big moves in the last few offseasons. We have seen All-Pros and Pro Bowlers get traded or sign free-agent deals with new teams, something that was pretty unprecedented in the past. If a team had a franchise quarterback, they weren’t going anywhere. One of those such players was Matt Ryan being traded to the Indianapolis Colts.

The upcoming 2023 offseason could provide some sizable moves at the quarterback position as well. Future Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers could ride off into the sunset of retirement or look to join a new team to compete for a Super Bowl with.

The free agency of Geno Smith, who has had a resurgent 2022 after not being a starter since 2014. Daniel Jones is also going to have an intriguing offseason as the New York Giants have to decide if he is worthy of being their long-term answer at the quarterback position.

However, the player that everyone will have their eyes on is Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens. There is a chance, should Jackson sign a long-term deal with the Ravens or another team, that he could make more money than the rest of the quarterback class combined in 2023.

Jackson has proven that he is a transcendent player given his dual-threat abilities. While he can sometimes still be erratic passing the ball, he is a true dynamo with the ball in his hands as a ball carrier. He is on track to lead the NFL in yards per carry for the third time in four seasons as a starter.

The Ravens have the chance to keep Jackson in the fold with the franchise tag and it would be shocking if they elected not to use it on him. The acquisition of linebacker Roquan Smith ahead of the trade deadline complicates things a little bit, but allowing a player of Jackson’s caliber to test free agency would certainly be very risky.

The Louisville product would undoubtedly have a robust market in free agency as a few teams will be in the market for a new quarterback. One team that people should pay attention to in the Jackson sweepstakes is the Indianapolis Colts.

Indianapolis still has a fighting chance at the postseason, but things have not gone according to plan this season. They were considered a dark horse Super Bowl contender after acquiring Matt Ryan from the Atlanta Falcons but they have fallen woefully short of those expectations.

The Colts are 4-6-1 on the season and need to find a long-term answer at the quarterback position as the answer isn’t currently on the roster. Ryan was already benched by Frank Reich, who has been fired by the franchise and replaced on an interim basis by Jeff Saturday. His replacement, Sam Ehlinger, looked to be in over his head as a starter.

Colts’ general manager Chris Ballard needs to search high and low for an answer at the quarterback position. Given some of the issues with the offensive line, having an athletic player with escapability at the quarterback position, which Jackson possesses, would make a lot of sense.
There are also pieces in place for Jackson to succeed and elevate this offense instantly. They have a great running game led by Jonathan Taylor, a bonafide No. 1 option in wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and a strong supporting cast with rookie Alec Pierce and Parris Campbell behind him.

Defensively the Colts remain a very strong team despite an injury to All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard. The only thing that they are missing to round out this roster with is a quarterback and Jackson would be an excellent addition.

Indianapolis has the cap space and draft capital to pull off a trade should it get to that point. Ballard has shown that he isn’t afraid to take a swing at the quarterback position, spending big money on Philip Rivers in 2020, trading for Carson Wentz in 2021 and Ryan in the most recent offseason. Knowing his job could depend on finding a quarterback, Ballard will go all out in pursuit of someone such as Jackson even if the Ravens are overwhelming favorites to retain him.