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NFL insider pegs Commanders as landing spot for Ravens’ Lamar Jackson

The Washington Commanders are proving that they’re an ideal destination for a disgruntled quarterback. With an improving offensive line, robust running game and an elite defensive line, Washington checks all the boxes in terms of placating to a QB’s desires. Might Lamar Jackson be in their crosshairs?

Headlined by Jackson, Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo and Geno Smith (imagine including Geno before the season) the 2022 free agent quarterback class leaves something to be desired. If he reaches free agency, Jackson will be far and away the most coveted of the trio.

Jackson’s contract saga was one of the biggest storylines this offseason. It was reported the former MVP declined a $250 million extension from the Ravens because he desires a fully-guaranteed contract.

You might think Jackson is crazy to turn down such a ginormous offer, but remember Deshaun Watson got $230 million guaranteed despite facing a suspension following a slew of sexual assault and harassment allegations.

With Jackson slated to hit free agency, NFL insider Jeff Howe of The Athletic rattled off potential landing spots for the superstar.

The Commanders, if you can believe it, are on that shortlist.

Brady to Patriots? Rodgers to Jets? Let’s explore what could be another wild NFL offseason at QB via @TheAthletic https://t.co/vFnyRc7FJc

Could the Commanders land Lamar Jackson in 2023 free agency?

““If a quarterback-desperate team steps up with a fully guaranteed $250 million contract, or at least 80 percent of that guaranteed, Jackson needs to entertain that offer,” Howe wrote. “Perhaps those teams could include the Jets, Colts, Steelers, Texans, Giants, Commanders, Falcons, Lions, Panthers or Saints. Don’t worry about the cap. If a team needs a franchise quarterback, they’ll find a way to make the money work.””

The Ravens have one of three options with Jackson: Fork over the money he undoubtedly deserves or give him the exclusive franchise tag, which could be worth upwards of $45 million to prevent him from negotiating with other teams. Howe believes this is the most likely scenario.

The final option is give Jackson the nonexclusive franchise tag. That would only cost $30 million, or thereabouts, but would allow Jackson to speak with other teams. The kicker with the nonexclusive tag, though is that Baltimore can match any offer, or let Jackson go and acquire two first-round picks as compensation.

Jackson has all the leverage here, though, as Howe noted.

“It’s extremely rare for a tagged player to sign elsewhere, but Jackson is a unique case. Some of those teams won’t offer a better situation than the Ravens, but if he’s looking to maximize his value, this may be the way to do it.”

There’s are a lot of fans low key praying on Lamar Jackson’s downfall because of the contract situation and I’m not gonna hold y’all it’s weird as hell

Look, just because Washington is listed as a suitor for Jackson doesn’t mean they’ll even have interest in the offseason. Paying Jackson $250 million guaranteed would complicate the futures of their own free agents — Daron Payne chief among them — and future extensions for players like Montez Sweat and Kam Curl.

Then again, it’s a quarterback-driven league and Jackson is seemingly just entering his prime (he turns 26 in January) and owns a 44-16 record as a starter. He’s very clearly a top-10 player at the position, and Washington is arguably a better spot than Baltimore to accentuate his potential given its surplus of playmakers.

The Commanders will have a lot of competition for Jackson if he hits the open market, but it speaks volumes a plugged-in insider like Howe views the ‘Manders as one of several potential landing spots for the former MVP.

And the list isn’t as big as Howe made it seem. The Texans, Panthers and Saints are rebuilding and likely to draft a quarterback, the Steelers have a lot invested in Kenny Pickett and Atlanta has yet to see what it has in Desmond Ridder.

Assuming most fans would take Lamar in a heartbeat, we supposed the better question would be who wouldn’t want Jackson in D.C.?

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