Does Lamar Jackson’s trade request change anything for Commanders?

(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) Lamar Jackson
(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) Lamar Jackson /

Should quarterback Lamar Jackson’s trade request change anything regarding potential interest from the Washington Commanders this offseason?

The Washington Commanders are gearing up for the 2023 season with Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett as their quarterback options. Both players are going to get a legitimate chance to win the starting job, but the former North Carolina standout is the current leader in the clubhouse before OTAs and training camp roll around.

This is a big risk considering Howell’s inexperience. Brissett is a solid performer with proven production as a short-term option, so much will depend on what Eric Bieniemy perceives to be the best fit within his new, creative scheme.

However, the ongoing saga between Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens took another concerning twist on Monday. One that the signal-caller revealed minutes before head coach John Harbaugh was due to speak at the NFL owners’ meetings.

Could Lamar Jackson’s trade request change the Commanders’ thoughts?

Jackson revealed on Twitter that he’d requested a trade from the Ravens on March 2. Something that further reflects the fractured relationship between the two parties that’s centered on a bumper new deal and the guaranteed money attached.

"“In regards to my future plans. As of March 2nd I requested a trade from the Ravens organization for which the Ravens has not been interested in meeting my value, any and everyone that’s has met me or been around me know I love the game of football and my dream is to help a team win the super bowl. You all are great but I had to make a business decision that was best for my family and I. No matter how far I go or where my career takes me, I’ll continue to be close to my fans of Baltimore Flock nation and the entire State of Maryland. You’ll See me again.”"

This brought fresh excitement among NFL fans whose team is in desperate need of a franchise quarterback. Someone that could provide legitimate hope of Super Bowl contention by his mere presence.

The Commanders are on that list currently. But has this latest development in Jackson’s ongoing saga got the scope to alter their thought process?

The answer is probably not.

Washington has just $2.42 million in available cap space currently. Even if they restructured or released some established figures, there would be nowhere near enough to take on Jackson’s contract and sign their 2023 NFL Draft class.

Of course, that could change with a compromise that shifts some of Jackson’s money around. However, the Commanders’ ownership is still in flux, which makes it difficult to put enough in escrow with Dan Snyder likely to sell up in the not-too-distant future.

In terms of the draft compensation, two first-round picks on the non-exclusive franchise tag aren’t much for someone with Jackson’s credentials. A move that would instantly transform the Commanders from also-rans into genuine postseason contenders along the way.

While putting Jackson onto this Commanders’ offense with Bieniemy leading the charge is a mouth-watering prospect, it’s a non-starter. Nothing to do with the one-time Louisville star’s talent, but the financial factors coupled with Snyder’s impending departure represent substantial stumbling blocks difficult to overcome.

It’s hard to envisage a scenario where Jackson goes back to Baltimore after all this. Perhaps it was an ill-advised negotiating tactic, but there is too much water under the bridge now for anything other than a parting of ways.

Someone is going to get a franchise-altering quarterback. It just won’t be the Commanders unless there is a drastic change of heart.

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