The Falcons have been out on Lamar Jackson since the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on the 26-year-old MVP. We eventually heard directly from the team, via Arthur Blank, that the Falcons wouldn’t be pursuing him.
Blank explained the difference between last offseason’s pursuit of Deshaun Watson and the lack of interest in Jackson: “Looking at it objectively I’d say there’s some concern over how long can he play his style of game. Hopefully a long time …, but he’s missed 5, 6 games each of the last two years. Each game counts a lot in our business.”
Lamar Jackson has missed 11 games over the last two years due to injury, which is fair to be cautious about. However, Deshaun Watson has missed 28 games in the previous three years and has torn his ACL twice over his career.
I wouldn’t give Jackson a fully guaranteed contract, but there aren’t many quarterbacks in the league that deserve one. It’s nothing against Jackson; it’s just bad business. I think everyone would respect the Falcons more if they just came out and said that.
But what we do have is Arthur Smith confirming to Rich Eisen that the team did talk internally about Lamar Jackson, but as we’ve heard, the Falcons are confident in the plan going forward with Desmond Ridder.
Yes, the @AtlantaFalcons talked about Lamar Jackson but as Arthur Smith told us, they're confident in their plan going forward with Desmond Ridder:#NFL #NFLFreeAgency #NFLDraft @Lj_era8 @desmondridder #DirtyBirds pic.twitter.com/vccKL8pKdW
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) March 31, 2023
Somehow the Falcons are the only team facing backlash because of their lack of interest in Lamar Jackson. I’m not saying Desmond Ridder is the answer; in fact, there’s likely no reality where Ridder is ever an All-Pro or MVP winner. Still, there are plenty of other teams with questionable quarterback situations that aren’t facing any scrutiny.
Or, here’s a crazy idea, bash the Ravens for not paying him? It’s crazy to see some national media pundits say things like, “the Falcons don’t take winning seriously” because they don’t want to pursue Lamar Jackson. Well, put half of a dozen other teams, including the Ravens, in that same group that doesn’t care about winning.
It’s lazy. Winning a Super Bowl is practically impossible, and there is no blueprint for building a roster that can raise the Lombardi. Lamar Jackson could be the right choice, but it could very easily never net the Falcons a crack at a championship. And the same goes for Desmond Ridder or any other signal caller. It’s okay to criticize the regime for missteps; lord knows there’s been plenty. But this isn’t a hill I am willing to die on.
Photographer: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire