What’s next for the Ravens and Lamar Jackson after quarterback requests to be traded? It’s anybody’s guess.

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PHOENIX — Lamar Jackson, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and rapper Meek Mill. As if the situation surrounding the Ravens’ star quarterback hasn’t had enough bizarre twists and turns already.

It took yet another one Monday afternoon when Kraft told reporters at the NFL meetings that Meek Mill texted him a few days earlier saying that the disgruntled Baltimore quarterback, who earlier in the day took to Twitter to reveal that he told the Ravens earlier this month that he wants out, would like to play for the Patriots.


“Meek Mill texted and said, ‘Lamar Jackson wants to come to the Patriots,’” Kraft said, adding that he’s also fond of the team’s current starting quarterback Mac Jones. “I said, ‘That’s [coach] Bill Belichick’s decision.’”

Kraft helped the rapper get out of prison in 2018, and that same year Meek Mill mentioned Kraft in one of his songs.


Whether the Ravens can get out of their jam with Jackson, though, is an altogether different problem.

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta has said repeatedly that he wants Jackson to be the team’s long-term quarterback. Coach John Harbaugh has echoed those sentiments and on Monday said he’s building the offense along with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken with the idea that Jackson will be under center, though he conceded that the team is also making contingency plans.

“I don’t know what direction it’s going to go,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t tell the future. But I know whatever happens is going to be good. It’s going to be OK. I have my hopes. I love Lamar Jackson.”

He’s not the only one, of course.

Though the Ravens franchise-tagged Jackson earlier this month, the 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player is free to seek an offer from another team because the tag is nonexclusive.

While no team has come forward publicly with an offer yet — and another one on Monday added to the list of organizations that have said they are not pursuing the 26-year-old superstar, with Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew saying Washington is moving forward with its quarterbacks, Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett — Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard had an intriguing reaction to the news.

“Anytime a special player is available, which he is, you’ve got to do the work,” Ballard told reporters at the meetings. “I’m not going to get into deep discussions on where it’s at or what we’re doing or what we might do. But what I’ll tell you is he’s a really good player, really special player. But you never know how any of this will work out.

“I think anytime at that position we have a chance to acquire a guy, you’ve got do your work on it to see if it’s doable. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not.”


New Colts coach Shane Steichen, who worked with dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts as the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive coordinator, was coy in his response but said he does his due diligence on every position.

And of the shrinking list of teams that could make a run at Jackson, Indianapolis is perhaps the best positioned to do so.

“Anytime a special player is available, which [Lamar Jackson] is, you’ve got to do the work,” Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, pictured March 1, told reporters at the NFL meetings on Monday. “I’m not going to get into deep discussions on where it’s at or what we’re doing or what we might do. But what I’ll tell you is he’s a really good player, really special player. But you never know how any of this will work out."

The quarterback-needy Colts, who struggled under Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan the past two years, have the No. 4 overall pick in next month’s draft. Should they sign Jackson to an offer sheet and the Ravens don’t match it after five days, Jackson would go to Indianapolis and that pick (along with a first-rounder in 2024) would go to Baltimore, which would then be well-positioned to draft its next quarterback among C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Levis or Anthony Richardson.

The Ravens working out a trade involving Jackson to get more in return than two first-round draft picks is another possibility. Or a team — like the Patriots — could also wait until after the draft to make Jackson an offer. In that case, the two first-round picks would revert to 2024 and 2025. Teams have until July 17 to sign Jackson to an offer sheet.

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Though DeCosta did not speak with the media after news of Jackson’s demand broke, he has also in the past been willing to send unhappy players packing when they’ve requested to be traded — notably offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and wide receiver Marquise Brown.

Other teams have been speculated as possible destinations for Jackson as well, including the Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons. But the big-money, long-term deal similar to the fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract the Cleveland Browns gave Deshaun Watson that Jackson desires, coupled with the draft compensation to land him and the fact that the Ravens could match the offer, shorten the list considerably.


Jackson’s significant and dynamic talents also make him appealing — especially for Indianapolis.

“If you don’t feel like you have [a quarterback] that can absolutely change the franchise in terms of leading you every year, I think you’re always going to feel some pressure to get that player right,” Ballard told reporters.

As for what’s next for the Ravens in the ongoing saga that shows no sign of slowing anytime soon, Harbaugh said the team is building its offense with Monken with the idea that Jackson will be the quarterback. But if that doesn’t come to fruition, Baltimore will be in a tough spot with its only other quarterback options currently on the roster being Tyler Huntley and Anthony Brown, neither of whom is a viable starter.

There’s also the possibility the Ravens could use a draft pick on a quarterback, but with their first pick not coming until No. 22 overall and no second-round pick, the options aren’t great there, either. Or they could add a veteran quarterback this offseason, something Harbaugh didn’t rule out Monday.

“Eventually, it’ll work out,” Harbaugh said. “There will always be creative ways to figure that stuff out.”