Insider links Lamar Jackson with two NFC South teams
Lamar Jackson. Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Insider links Ravens' Lamar Jackson with two NFC South teams

Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post believes a pair of NFC clubs could pursue Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson this winter. 

"The executives I spoke with kept coming back to two NFC South teams as potential Jackson landing spots: the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers," La Canfora wrote for a piece published Wednesday. 

As La Canfora mentioned, the Falcons and Panthers both struck out in their attempts to acquire star signal-caller Deshaun Watson, who waived his no-trade clause to make a move from the Houston Texans to the Cleveland Browns last March. 

La Canfora added that "plugged-in executives" told him it's assumed "getting Jackson out of the AFC would be ideal for Baltimore and that landing some proven young talent in return — not only draft picks — would be the Ravens' preference." 

The Falcons are set to have 2022 rookie Desmond Ridder atop their depth chart through the offseason, but Jackson is a one-time NFL Most Valuable Player who is still only 26 years old. The Panthers, meanwhile, are likely looking for upgrades over Sam Darnold and PJ Walker regardless of what they think of 2022 third-round draft pick Matt Corral. Corral sat through his rookie campaign due to a Lisfranc injury. 

Interestingly, the Panthers were recently linked with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton. It would appear some within NFL circles expect Carolina to go big-game hunting for a QB1. 

Jackson is in the final months of his rookie contract and has seemingly hinted via his latest social media activities that he and the Ravens aren't all that close to reaching a long-term agreement. The Ravens can use the franchise tag to retain Jackson's rights for the 2023 season, but he theoretically could respond by threatening to hold out through the summer. 

It also shouldn't be forgotten that some believe Jackson chose not to play in Baltimore's playoff loss at the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday because he didn't receive a fully guaranteed contract from his current employer last year. That type of accusation can permanently damage the relationship between a player and a team. 

"I suspect the Ravens would prefer to wrap this up well before the draft, let alone the July deadline to extend a player on the franchise tag," La Canfora noted about the Jackson situation.  

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