It’s official: Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson has told the public that he has requested a trade from the team that drafted him in the 2018 NFL Draft.
His announcement – which he made via Twitter on March 27 – happened just as his head coach, John Harbaugh, sat down with dozens of reporters for a media session on the upcoming season.
That may have been a coincidence – or maybe not – but it happened. And it has provided even more hysteria in an NFL offseason filled with excitement and shake-ups ahead of the upcoming NFL draft.
Maryland allowing player movement bets
According to Maryland Lottery and Gaming, sports betting operators can book bets on “Next NFL team player X will take a snap for” markets.
Widespread betting on player movement is relatively new to US sports betting markets. Colorado was among the first states to allow these types of bets, New Jersey is another. Michigan allows player movement betting now, though its gaming board still does not allow NBA trade betting.
According to Maryland’s catalog, the state accepts NBA trade betting for “Player X is traded by X date” markets.
DraftKings: Falcons have best odds to land Lamar Jackson
While there’s truly no telling whether Jackson will be playing for the Ravens or some other team when the 2023 NFL season kicks off later this year, operators of sports betting in Maryland have chosen some favorites.
If Jackson leaves the Ravens, DraftKings Maryland has the Indianapolis Colts as favorites to land Jackson at +250. The Atlanta Falcons, favorites when the market opened, are next at +400. The Washington Commanders come in third at +650.
After that are the Tennessee Titans (+750) and the New England Patriots (+850). The Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are both at +1,000 odds to land Jackson.
But new stories are coming out daily that could and most certainly will shift these lines. For instance, Falcons owner Arthur Blank recently said “there’s no question (Lamar is) one of the top quarterbacks in the league.”
“Looking at it objectively, I’d say there’s some concern over how long can he play his style of game. Hopefully, a long time … but he’s missed five, six games each of the last two years. Each game counts a lot in our business.”
Keep in mind that Blank once employed a dual-threat quarterback in Michael Vick. The Falcons look poised to start the 2023-24 season with second-year QB Desmond Ridder at the helm.
Belichick and Pats may be ready to unload Jones
A few days after Jackson demanded a trade, reports surfaced that Patriots head coach and General Manager Bill Belichick had been shopping New England’s starting quarterback, Mac Jones. It was supposedly a result of Jones turning to former Alabama coaches for help after the Patriots offense sputtered in 2022.
It may be only a matter of time before Jones ends up as a player prop on where he plays in 2023.
Could he be used in a trade for Jackson?
Other QB prop bets may be coming soon
Jackson isn’t the only player with a prop bet trying to predict what team he will be under center for when 2023’s campaign kicks off.
In addition to him and the soon-to-be-available odds on Jones, there are similar bets for QBs waiting to be drafted in the first round. The list includes C.J. Stroud from Ohio State and Bryce Young from Alabama.
There are similar bets for Georgia QB Stetson Bennett, Florida QB Anthony Richardson, Texas RB Bijan Robinson and many others.
These types of bets aren’t a new concept. One of the biggest names to have similar odds was former Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady as his contract came to an end with New England’s 2019 season.
New England was the favorite to retain the six-time Super Bowl champion at -130. But it wasn’t long before Tampa Bay shot to the second-most-likely team to land him at +150 odds.
And we all know how that ended.
Bets like this could be just the start
It’s likely that player props like this that try to predict where a player will land are here to stay.
Keep in mind that leaks and other information could sway odds. But there is too much reward involved for sportsbooks not to offer wagers on where players will play.
There’s really no telling where Jackson may end up. There are many factors at play. Not having an agent seems to be making it harder for teams to consider adding him. Plus, recent injuries the past two seasons are a factor as is his high asking price for guaranteed money.
Jackson and other high-profile players approaching free agency will continue to intrigue sportsbooks. Bettors may soon be able to wager on contract amounts, lengths or guaranteed money, just to name a few betting options.
Jackson gets vocal on Twitter about what he wants
Jackson, who acts as his own agent, said on Twitter that asking for a trade was a business decision. He and the Ravens have been working on a long-term deal for a couple years now.
“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 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.”
Despite Jackson’s perfectly timed (or not) announcement, Harbaugh assured a group of reporters at the NFL owners meeting that Jackson’s request was not a surprise nor was a trade inevitable.
“I’m following it very closely, just like everybody else is here and looking forward to a resolution. I’m excited, thinking about Lamar all the time. Thinking about him as our quarterback. We’re building our offense around that idea.”
It’s clear to see, however, that Jackson is disgruntled that he and the Ravens couldn’t agree on a long-term deal. The Ravens placed the franchise tag on him, meaning he must play for the Ravens in the upcoming season or for no team. Unless, of course, his trade request is granted.
Other teams can negotiate with Jackson to offer more than what the Ravens currently have on the table. After July 17, though, he is locked in as a Raven via the non-exclusive franchise tag. Under it, the Ravens would pay him $32 million for the season.