PHOENIX — The Detroit Lions are one of the betting favorites to land Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in a trade, but Lions coach Dan Campbell said at the NFL’s annual spring meeting Tuesday that’s not in the cards.
“Yeah, look, Lamar’s a heck of a talent,” Campbell said. “Trying to defend that guy has been something else. We played them two years ago but, man, we got a quarterback. So I’m like, we got a quarterback and thank God we got one, and so we’re good. But man, he’s a heck of a talent.”
Jackson requested a trade from the Ravens earlier this month, a request he made public Monday in a post on Twitter.
The NFL MVP in 2019, Jackson is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL, a 26-year-old dual-threat quarterback who has amassed more than 12,000 yards passing and 4,000 rushing in his five-year career.
He and the Ravens have been in a contractual standoff for more than a year, with Jackson seeking a fully-guaranteed deal that reportedly pays him Deshaun Watson-type money (five years, $230 million).
The Ravens have balked at giving Jackson a guaranteed deal, in part because of injury concerns — Jackson has missed five games each of the past two regular seasons because of injury and sat out Baltimore’s playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in January — and instead used the non-exclusive franchise tag on the quarterback before the start of free agency.
Under the franchise tag, Jackson stands to make a guaranteed $32.4 million next season, but is free to negotiate a contract with another team. The Ravens can match any deal Jackson signs, or receive two first-round picks as compensation.
So far, no team is known to have engaged Jackson in contract talks.
The Lions have Picks 6 and 18 in the first round next month, but plan to use those choices to fortify a playoff-contending roster after finishing 9-8 last season with Jared Goff at quarterback.
Goff, 28, had one of the best seasons of his career in 2022, throwing for 4,438 yards and 29 touchdowns. He finished the season on a streak of 324 straight pass attempts without an interception.
The Lions have said on multiple occasions they intend to move foward with Goff at quarterback, though Goff is not considered in the elite tier of NFL signal callers and questions persist about his long-term future in Detroit.
Asked Tuesday if the Lions will consider taking a quarterback in the first round — Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Florida’s Anthony Richardson and Kentucky’s Will Levis are potential top-10 picks — given the likelihood they won’t be drafting that high again anytime soon, Campbell left the door open to the possibility.
“I would say this, man,” he said. “This year, as with most, you’re always looking to upgrade and free agency has given us the ability in areas to, man, we can do whatever we need to do in the draft. We feel pretty good about that. We don’t feel forced to do anything, you got to take this. And so with that, I would say, man, it doesn’t matter what the position is, if we can upgrade our team, top to bottom, we will do that.”
Contact Dave Birkett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.