Chris Ballard on Lamar Jackson: Anytime a special player is available, you’ve got to do the work

Getty Images

Is there finally a team interested in Lamar Jackson?

After the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, several teams leaked that they did not have any interest in the 26-year-old quarterback.

The Colts, however, did not. And the team reportedly had not ruled out pursuing Jackson.

Now Indianapolis General Manager Chris Ballard has made the most significant statement of potential interest in Jackson from any other team at the annual league meeting in Arizona.

“Anytime a special player is available, which he is, you’ve got to do the work,” Ballard said on Monday, via Stephen Holder of ESPN. “I’m not gonna 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 Colts have been through a parade of quarterbacks since Andrew Luck retired in 2019. They’re set to go into their sixth consecutive season with a different opening-day starter, dating back to Luck’s last full season in 2018.

“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,” Ballard said. “Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not.”

While that’s not Ballard directly coming out and saying that the Colts will pursue Jackson, it’s certainly leaving open the possibility more than any other team since the quarterback became available.

Indianapolis has the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, which will likely leave them without one of the top two passers in the class. That could make the Colts more likely to get involved in the Jackson sweepstakes.

Moreover, Ballard had an up-close view of one of Jackson’s best performances in the last few years. In 2021, the QB helped lead Baltimore back from a 25-9 deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat Indianapolis 31-25 in overtime. Jackson had three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter/OT, finishing the game 37-of-43 passing for 442 yards with four TDs and no picks, though Jackson did lose a fumble.

From what head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday, the Ravens clearly still intend to have Jackson as their quarterback in 2023. But Ballard’s comments make Indianapolis worth monitoring as Jackson continues to be available.

34 responses to “Chris Ballard on Lamar Jackson: Anytime a special player is available, you’ve got to do the work

  1. Why would you waste 2 more 1st rd picks to gamble on a QB that isn’t going to get any better and cost you 40 million per year? Just take a QB at 4 or just trade the pick back. Your team is terrible, so you’re not close to winning anything.

  2. I don’t know that I’d read too far into this. A lot of teams kick the tires when players are available. It’s arguably unwise not to.

  3. So why does the team need do the work? Lamar Jackson certainly doesn’t do the work required to learn a playbook or how to read a defense – that’s why he runs constantly. He checks his primary reciever, may even look in the secondary receiver’s direction, then he runs. Let the Rat Birds wallow in their own mess.

  4. What I think is the funniest and saddest thing about this is that I can guarantee that one reason he won’t hire an agent is because he thinks it’ll make him look stupid. He doesn’t want to be seen that way. Obviously, he knows he would’ve been wrong to not hire an agent if he did bite the bullet and get one, and young people today HATE being wrong. So he’s going to hold out to prove everyone else wrong, which will keep worsening his situation and how everyone sees him. This is his legacy.

    And the media will blame all of this on something/someone else other than him.

  5. Ballard has been the only one talking about being open to trade for Jackson for 2 weeks and yet hasn’t done anything.

    He’s doing someone a favor in continuing to talk up Lamar without actually showing any real interest.

  6. Indianapolis is only 113 miles from Louisville. Lamar is wildly popular in Louisville from his time with the University of Louisville. Local Louisville radio carries the Ravens broadcast. The Colts would sell thousands of tickets in Louisville if they acquired Lamar.

  7. All Chris Ballard had to do was pay Chicago’s price to finally end the QB nightmare. Which also would’ve bought himself another two years minimum while the QB “develops” and wins don’t matter.

    He was also too scared to trade for Matt Stafford two years ago. Not taking a swing on a QB and missing out is worse than taking the wrong one in most cases.

  8. No, they aren’t going to trade for Lamar.

    They are just staying out the evitable collusion legal case after no team meets Mar’s value.

  9. Unless Irasy is sipping his kool-aid there is no way this happens. Never know though.

  10. To me, special players are the ones who do it in the postseason. If Lamar Jackson retired tomorrow, what exactly would his legacy be? A bunch of regular season wins does not a big, record-breaking contract make.

  11. Lamar overplayed the market. Baltimore gave Lamar his best offer; no one is going to fork over more. You can follow the Orlando Brown method and take a lesser offer from another team and Baltimore will gladly match. Or you can go back to Baltimore and take the best offer.

  12. Their head coach turned Jalen hurts into a superstar, imagine what he can do with Lamar Jackson, who is already a proven superstar.

  13. I wouldn’t want to play in Indy for a weasel Owner that has screwed over several qb’s.

  14. I suspect the Ravens would let him go for less than 2 firsts if one of those 2 firsts was #4 overall. I’d say #4, #35 and maybe a midrounder next year and I’d drive him to the airport myself.

  15. I like it. Pick 4 and a 2024 first is too much give up if you don’t have to. Obviously you’d want to trade down into the 20s before trying to sign him. Worst case scenario he doesn’t sign and you picked up a lot of extra picks which you need anyway.

  16. Eh give me Anthony Richardson instead. I cannot give Lamar Jackson $200 million fully guaranteed.

  17. Lamar’s last big memorable game was Week 2 at Home in Baltimore 2022. He ran wild, he did it all. And yet it still wasn’t enough. I was there. It was glorious.

    Go Dolphins.

  18. jm91rs says:
    March 27, 2023 at 5:17 pm
    I suspect the Ravens would let him go for less than 2 firsts if one of those 2 firsts was #4 overall. I’d say #4, #35 and maybe a midrounder next year and I’d drive him to the airport myself


    If they trade Jackson get used to picking in the top 4 for a while.

  19. I think Lamar is the #1 QB available in the NFL or Draft. I hope Lamar gets a chance to play for another team.

  20. If you trade down then you can’t give your pick this year. Can only trade up.

  21. Deshaun Watson’s fully-guaranteed contract is the reason why Lamar Jackson wants this crazy big contract. Deshaun Watson’s fully-guaranteed contract is also why no one will give that deal out again, at least not for the next decade. Lamar Jackson is certainly better than Deshaun Watson. But, there aren’t any teams as block-headed as the Browns. And neither of them “deserve” anything close to 5 years 50mil per.

  22. If they trade Jackson get used to picking in the top 4 for a while.
    The Ravens are a winning organization. They won before Jackson, they’ll win after.

  23. I hope they don’t do this. In addition to having to possibly give up two 1st round picks. His cap hit would be about $40m per year for the next 5 years more than a rookie QB. How many really good players does that prevent them from getting or keeping? Not worth it. And I’m not too worried about them getting the 3rd or 4th QB in the draft. Here’s why:

    Top 7 QB’s (in no order)
    Mahomes- 2nd QB taken
    Burrow. -1st
    Allen – 3rd
    Jackson – 5th
    Herbert – 3rd
    Hurts – 5th
    Rodgers – 2nd

    So if the top 7 QB’s, 4 were the 3rd or 5th QB taken in the draft, 2 were the 2nd and 1 was the first.

  24. Ballard needs wins or his days in Indy are over. Jackson is a much better option than Richardson or Levis if you need to win now and not go through the developmental stages these 2 QBs need. It won’t be the fully guaranteed contract Wilson has, either, but it will be something like $150-175 million guaranteed with various options. This head coach is the one who made Hurts a star in the league so he could help Lamarr also.

  25. He’s not special nor gifted – not the best running back out there and a very mediocre QB and has no leadership talent. He effectively is a one man show – good news is you don’t have to spend money on wide receivers!

  26. 1st off Baltimore is a classy organization and they won before Lamar and will win after Lamar, they just can’t win with Lamar and his 1 read then run qb skill set. Baltimore is staying quiet letting Lamar tweet and post and act like the spoiled child he obviously is, then like a good parent when he realizes he needs them they will sweeten the deal a little for him to come home and so his feelings and ego isn’t too hurt, but the better offer will be nowhere near the contract he wants just a little more then originally so he can save face.

    The Ravens are playing thus perfectly

  27. If anything they’ll just do a deal with BAL to take their 1st round spot in return for LJ. BAL would be smart to take it since he ran away from home. It’s cost a fortune for them to move up to 4.

  28. As a Ravens fan I hope someone takes him off our hands because I don’t like where this is headed. We can survive a year with a backup situation and move on from there. Jackson playing on the Tag is going to be a train wreck for us.

  29. “The work” is telling you that he’s not worth what he thinks he’s worth. Regardless of his age, regardless of his season FOUR YEARS AGO, Lamar Jackson has clearly overvalued himself in the QB market.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.