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Baltimore Ravens could be tempted to trade Lamar Jackson this offseason

Lamar Jackson
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

While the Baltimore Ravens have already won two Super Bowls since the organization was founded in 1996, they may be entering the most important offseason of their franchise’s history. NFL MVP Lamar Jackson is headed for free agency, and to this point, the front office appears far apart in contract negotiations.

According to several insiders at NFL Network, the Ravens could become motivated to trade their franchise quarterback this offseason.

The current expectation is that the Ravens will place the franchise tag on Jackson, which would mean the Ravens would have exclusive rights to negotiate a contract with their superstar QB. If the two sides cannot agree on a long-term extension, Jackson could opt to sign the one-year tag.

Yet, if, for whatever reason, the two sides come to the realization that a trade would be best, the Ravens could then shop Jackson around the league for the best offer. Based on the report by Tom Pelissero and his colleagues, there’s a real possibility the Ravens could grow enamored with a strong package of draft picks from another team.

While coach John Harbaugh has continued to insist that he doesn’t see how Jackson isn’t in a Ravens uniform in 2023, placing his chances at 200% to return, several NFL insiders are beginning to speculate otherwise.

Related: Top NFL free agents of 2023: From 1-250, led by Lamar Jackson and Saquon Barkley

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens could split over guaranteed money

NFL: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Jackson reportedly wants more guaranteed money than the Ravens seem willing to offer. The Cleveland Browns agreeing to pay Deshaun Watson a fully-guaranteed $230 million contract likely hasn’t helped during Jackson’s contract discussions.

But unlike Watson, Jackson has won an MVP award and has shown the ability to play at an elite level much more recently than Watson has or even had at the time of his contract agreement.

Who’s to say that Jackson, at the age of 26, isn’t worth even more? Some elite NFL players certainly believe Jackson is worth every penny.

The Ravens have until March 7 to work out a long-term extension before the franchise tag deadline passes. Keep in mind even if the Ravens place the tag on Jackson, he can still be traded.

Related: 5 detailed Lamar Jackson trade scenarios from the Baltimore Ravens