Lamar Jackson landing spot tiers: Ranking every team's chances to trade for Ravens QB, from Raiders & Jets on down

The Ravens have shockingly made it possible to part ways with quarterback Lamar Jackson in the 2023 offseason. The 2019 league MVP got the non-exclusive franchise tag from Baltimore officials to keep him from being an unrestricted free agent.

It still will take a hefty price for a team to land him: agreeing with Jackson on a lucrative long-term contract that includes big guaranteed money and also giving up two first-round draft picks (or the equivalent in pleasing compensation). One can bet, however, that several QB-needy teams will still try to make it work to acquire a young passing and running veteran (only 26) with high upside.

Here’s our ranking of every teams’ chances of trading for Jackson, starting and ending in the AFC West:

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Lamar Jackson landing spot tiers

Teams that should go all in

1. Las Vegas Raiders: Josh McDaniels put the idea of what Jackson could do in his offense as a dual threat in his head in New England. There’s cap space and aggressive nature with a high first-rounder that could net the Ravens’ replacement with Jackson, stat.

2. New York Jets: They’re doing their best to draw Aaron Rodgers into town but they could quickly pivot to a Plan B with Jackson knowing they can quickly adjust their cap situation to make it work. He would make them an instant AFC title contender given their offensive support and rising defense.

3. Houston Texans: The Texans are sitting on a ton of money under the cap to perfectly afford Jackson. They desperately need a QB. They already have two first-rounders this year. Jackson could dazzle in their new 49ers-styled offense.

4. Detroit Lions: Like the Texans, they have two first-rounders and ample cap space. Unlike the Texans, they would be instead contenders to win their own conference with Jackson upgrading and adding an extra dimension to a loaded offense vs. Jared Goff, who would be an easy cut to free up around $21 million.

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5. Carolina Panthers: David Tepper wants to make a splash move at QB and the pursuit of Deshaun Watson didn’t work out last year. He could definitely pull the trigger to help Frank Reich and Thomas Browns. The Panthers would immediately become a playoff team as strong NFC South favorites with Jackson.

6. Indianapolis Colts: Shane Steichen just came from working with the mobile stylings and big downfield arm of Jalen Hurts. He definitely would like to solve their QB carousel with that kind of OB in Indy. It just comes down to Chris Ballard obliging with another aggressive deal involving first-rounders plus some old cap magic.

Teams that should and could surprise

7. Tennessee Titans: They could be thinking about a real rebuild with Derrick Henry on the trading block after several cap-related cuts, but they could also part ways with Ryan Tannehill and keep Malik Willis as Jackson’s development backup.

8. New England Patriots: Bill Belichick has made it clear he loves what Jackson can do helping a run-heavy team with fine defense, but the question is whether he would be so fickle with Mac Jones ahead of using a new offensive scheme.

MORE: Ranking the NFL’s best QBs available in free agency

Teams that should, but likely won’t

9. Atlanta Falcons: It’s understandable they want to see what Desmond Ridder can do, but the offensive fit for Jackson just seems too good to pass up so quickly.

10. Washington Commanders: They seem happy seeing what Sam Howell can do. Jackson also likely doesn’t want to go to the other side of the Beltway from Baltimore.

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11. Chicago Bears: They already have tailored their offense around a rushing QB in Justin Fields, who can be converted into alternative trade chip along with No. 1. overall. They also have a ton of money under the cap to lock up Jackson.

12. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray is coming off a late major knee injury. Jackson would be a seamless plug-and-play in their new-look offense, reuniting with Marquise Brown, but they then would also need to dump Murray’s contract on the Ravens in return.

Teams that should, but can’t

13. Los Angeles Rams: Imagine Sean McVay designing plays for Jackson to turn the page from an aging and ailing Matthew Stafford … but the cap space and draft capital aren’t there.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers would need to do a lot of hacking with the salary cap to make it work, leading to some cuts on top of losing huge draft capital.

15. Miami Dolphins: Let’s hope the Dolphins are happy about their fruitless Tom Brady pursuit cost them a first-rounder they could have used to bring Jackson back to South Florida.

16. Minnesota Vikings: For some reason they keep giving Kirk Cousins big contracts from which it is difficult to break free.

17. Denver Broncos: They’re stuck with Russell Wilson and need to make it work with Sean Payton.

18. New Orleans Saints: They just invested in Derek Carr with limited cap space, so they probably already out on Jackson

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19. Seattle Seahawks: They just reinvested in Geno Smith, so they were probably already out on Jackson.

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Teams that should stick to their plans

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: They should have confidence in Kenny Pickett making a big jump in Year 2.

21. Green Bay Packers: It looks like Aaron Rodgers is gone, no matter what. They need see how they can roll with Jordan Love.

This seat is taken

22. Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones is still committed to Dak Prescott to the point he’ll give him more money soon.

23. New York Giants: Breaking news: They decided to invest $160 million over four years on Daniel Jones instead. OK then.

24. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert has both a higher ceiling and is cheaper than Jackson … at this moment.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence has both a higher ceiling and is cheaper than Jackson … at this moment.

26. Cleveland Browns: They started this mess with Jackson and the Ravens by giving Deshaun Watson that mega all-guaranteed deal.

27. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen is a bigger, stronger-armed version of Jackson.

28. San Francisco 49ers: They can win big with one of two cheap young options in Trey Lance or Brock Purdy, so why blow up their winning model?

29. Philadelphia Eagles: They might have a better, just as expensive Jackson in Jalen Hurts.

Who’s Lamar Jackson again?

30. Cincinnati Bengals: They already have the best QB in the AFC North in Joe Burrow.

31. Kansas City Chiefs: They have Patrick Mahomes.

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