NFL odds: Atlanta Falcons good bet to land Lamar Jackson, more
NFL free agency is entering Week 2, and the biggest name is still left on the board.
While he’s not technically a free agent, teams can offer Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson a contract that the Ravens have to match or Jackson is leaving Baltimore.
Will he stay put in the only city he has ever called home in the league, or will he take his talents elsewhere?
Let’s look at some teams that have a chance to land Lamar.
FOX Bet hypothetical odds on Lamar Jackson’s new team in Week 1*
Colts +225 (bet $10 to win $32.50 total)
Commanders +450 (bet $10 to win $55 total)
Falcons +550 (bet $10 to win $65 total)
Patriots +700 (bet $10 to win $80 total)
Titans +700 (bet $10 to win $80 total)
Lions +800 (bet $10 to win $90 total)
Buccaneers +1100 (bet $10 to win $120 total)
Dolphins +1300 (bet $10 to win $140 total)
49ers +1800 (bet $10 to win $190 total)
Jets +2000 (bet $10 to win $210 total)
Panthers +2000 (bet $10 to win $210 total)
Packers +2300 (bet $10 to win $240 total)
Texans +2600 (bet $10 to win $270 total)
*hypothetical odds as of 3/22/2023
Now, here are three teams I think are the most likely landing spots for the 2019 NFL MVP next season:
The best option for Jackson continues to be the Ravens, even if Baltimore will not pay Jackson what he believes he’s worth. Jackson is 45-16 in the regular season as the Ravens starting quarterback. He won the MVP in 2019, and despite missing the final stretch of the past two seasons, the Ravens have been a playoff team in four of Jackson’s five seasons in Baltimore.
[RELATED: Should Colts pursue Jackson?]
Despite reports that Jackson is over Baltimore, the Ravens are his home. They are the team who drafted him in 2018, invested in developing him and know him best. The grass might look greener elsewhere, but it rarely is.
The Ravens would gladly welcome Jackson back but at the price they want. That was the purpose of the non-exclusive tag. The Ravens did homework on the market and have given Jackson the opportunity to see the market for himself. If he doesn’t get the offers he wants, he will be back in Baltimore.
Lamar Jackson to Patriots?
Colin Cowherd subscribes to the idea that Lamar Jackson is done with the Baltimore Ravens, but if so, where does he land?
Baltimore also offers the path of least resistance because the franchise has fewer moving parts. The team has offered Jackson a contract, Jackson knows what that offer is and if he decides to return, the framework for the deal is there. If another team were to acquire Jackson, they’d have to offer Jackson a contract featuring more guaranteed money than the Ravens are willing to give him, plus trade away at least multiple first-round picks to have Jackson on their roster.
So for teams other than the Ravens, internal discussions are about money, draft picks and younger quarterback options. Jackson, 26, is a clear upgrade over many quarterbacks on teams who’d bid for his talent.
I do not believe all the teams who said “no” after the tag was announced are actually out of the Lamar sweepstakes. They need to weigh the benefit of tying up all that guaranteed money and forgoing multiple years of draft picks against drafting and developing a quarterback. Is keeping our young quarterback, having cap and draft flexibility a more comfortable option for our team’s building process?
The Colts have not been able to find their next franchise quarterback since Andrew Luck abruptly retired prior to the 2019 season. They seem committed this offseason to finding their guy but based on their current draft slot, it might be tougher than expected.
Carolina and Houston will draft quarterbacks with the top two picks. The Cardinals at No. 3 will not draft a quarterback but could trade out of the draft position for a quarterback-needy team.
Indy could be sitting at No. 4 with the top of the quarterback board already drafted. Even if the Cardinals stay at No. 3, there’s no guarantee the Colts like a quarterback on the board if their top targets are drafted first and second.
If the Colts miss on a top-of-the-draft QB, Jackson makes perfect sense for them. The Colts have a roster that’s capable of winning with a quarterback like Lamar. He is young enough that you’d have him in the building for several years. You’d immediately have the best quarterback in the division, although Jacksonville‘s Trevor Lawrence might stake his claim on that distinction soon.
The Falcons make sense for Jackson because of their offense, their youth and cap space. Their offense last season was the closest to what the Ravens run in the NFL. It will be a smooth transition for Jackson from the Ravens to the Falcons.
The Falcons offensive line is set and they do have some pieces with Kyle Pitts and Drake London to catch passes but will need to add more. Atlanta would be forgoing some draft picks needed to build the roster but in return, you have one of the best quarterbacks in the conference on your roster.
I like the fit in Atlanta.
Geoff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @GeoffSchwartz.
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Source: FOX Sports