SPORTS

Lamar Jackson might win MVP, yet no other teams wanted him?

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It was about nine months ago when Lamar Jackson wanted to be traded from the Baltimore Ravens. The best quarterback in the history of two forever linked franchises — the Ravens and the Cleveland Browns — was on the open market. Jackson is the only player besides Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes to win an NFL MVP since 2017. There was no clamor for the services of a player that accomplished.

Jackson eventually signed a 5-year, $200-plus million deal with the Ravens. On Christmas night, they extinguished the red hot San Francisco 49ers, 33-19. The 16-point margin of victory does not tell the entire story of the game. The Ravens intercepted the 49ers’ top NFL offense five times and allowed points on only three possessions. Following a safety on their first possession, the Ravens scored on seven consecutive drives. Jackson passed for 252 yards, two touchdowns and led his team in rushing.

His performance on Monday night should surge him back to the top of the MVP conversation. It was one of many games in which he was in complete control. On a field with two other potential MVP winners — Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey — Jackson was clearly the best player.

A player who could have been on any of the other 31 teams in the league, if one of them made a strong push to get him. The Ravens initially put Jackson on the non-exclusive franchise tag after last season. In exchange for two first-round picks, Jackson could have been acquired if the Ravens chose not to match a contract offer for him. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, none of the other teams made an effort to go and get Jackson.

There were several teams that made it public, in March, that they had no interest in him. That includes the Washington Commanders and Atlanta Falcons. Commanders head coach Ron Rivera and Falcons team owner Arthur Blank both gave statements that shut down any thought that their teams would have interest in the 2019 MVP, less than a week after Jackson posted on Xwitter that he wanted to be traded. Both of those teams would have been among the best in the NFC with him behind center.

Starting quarterback is arguably the most difficult position to fill in the entire NFL. Yet, no team made an effort to pursue one of the best five in the world. I am gagging from the stench of collusion in the air, but it will never be investigated. Everyone ended up getting what they wanted.

Jackson signed a deal in line with the top QBs in the NFL. That deal did not force the Ravens to make a market-shaking offer. The deal pays him more annually than what Deshaun Watson receives, but has nowhere near the guarantees. Watson’s deal is fully guaranteed, and the rumor was that Jackson wanted the same thing.

By Jackson signing a deal that paid made him the highest paid quarterback in the NFL — $2 million more per year than Russell Wilson — Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert both signed deals over the summer with little to no drama. They both make slightly more than Jackson, and the QB market was back on track.

With the regular season coming to a close, the Ravens have the best record in the NFL. The Commanders traded away two of their best players prior to the trade deadline, and quarterback play is likely going to cost the Falcons an NFC South title that was extremely winnable.

The NFL wins again.

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