ESPN exec predictions: Lamar Jackson to land in Atlanta with Falcons

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The Falcons are big game hunting. There’s no doubt about that. An elite quarterback is a quintessential step to building a sustainable winner most of the time, and Lamar Jackson could be the target this offseason.

The team pursued Deshaun Watson last year and was considered a finalist before the Browns gave him an unprecedented contract offer. The man had more than two dozen allegations of sexual misconduct, and Arthur Blank still inquired. Lamar Jackson is, by all accounts, a great human being; if he’s made available, the Falcons will be interested.

That’s a big if, though. John Harbaugh and Eric DeCosta have remained adamant that the MVP winner is their quarterback. And honestly, they seem pretty genuine when stating they’re all-in on Lamar Jackson. However, there remains a staggering distance between the two sides on guaranteed dollars.

Jackson has reportedly remained firm on wanting something in the realm of fully guaranteed — a precedent set by Watson and Cleveland. Baltimore is hesitant, given his injuries over the past two years and the dependence on his mobility. It’s not to say he isn’t worth that money, but the Ravens are understandably cautious about the idea.

Reports state that the Ravens offered around $133 million in guarantees. That’s less than six other quarterbacks, some of which signed deals years ago — Deshaun Watson ($230 million fully guaranteed), Russell Wilson ($165 million), Kyler Murray ($160 million), Aaron Rodgers ($150.6 million), Josh Allen ($150 million), and Patrick Mahomes ($141 million).

There’s no telling what will happen at the negotiating table, but it’s impossible to say one way or the other for certain. If things were to fall apart, the Falcons make a ton of sense for several reasons — NFC team, offensive fit, and young regime. That’s why ESPN is predicting Jackson lands in Atlanta in their annual NFL exec predictions article.

“I don’t think Baltimore wants to deal him in conference and have to see him on the field,” a high-ranking AFC exec said.

“Good running game, an offense that could be friendly to Lamar while helping him grow as a passer, big receivers with a catch radius, which he needs due to accuracy issues, young regime on an improving team looking for a quarterback solution,” an NFL scouting director said about the Falcons. “Not sure if that’s their plan, but it would make some sense.”

I have my reservations. Lamar Jackson has the Ravens by the balls. The organization built its entire team around him. There’s no other Lamar Jackson; the Ravens will eventually give in.

Photographer: Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire

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