With the Colts releasing Matt Ryan and trading Stephon Gilmore, is Indianapolis shaping up to make a run at Lamar Jackson?
The Indianapolis Colts are in a fascinating position after their moves on Tuesday. As expected, the team is releasing veteran quarterback Matt Ryan. On top of that, they traded cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Dallas Cowboys for only a fifth-round compensatory pick.
As a result of these moves, the ramifications are that the Colts have now freed up more than $27 million in salary cap space. And that’s when things start to get interesting.
It’s been expected that the Colts are going to be in on the quarterback class in the 2023 NFL Draft as they have the No. 4 overall pick. However, the team is now in a far less advantageous position after the Bears traded down to No. 9 with the Panthers moving up to No. 1. Now, at best, Indianapolis is going to get the third quarterback off of the board barring something unforeseen.
So how does that relate to cap space? Well, there just so happens to be a quarterback named Lamar Jackson that might be available if the Colts are willing to open up the checkbook.
NFL rumors: Do Colts latest moves signal a move on Lamar Jackson?
Jackson being hit with the non-exclusive franchise tag means that he can negotiate with other NFL teams. The Ravens will have the opportunity to match any contract he agrees to but, if they don’t, will receive two first-round picks from the team that would ultimately sign for the former NFL MVP.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard is no longer in a position where he can try to patch the quarterback spot together as the front office has tried to since Andrew Luck’s retirement. He’s on a bit of a hot seat, he needs to get the guy. And a 26-year-old former MVP is there for the taking.
That’s certainly a plausible reason as to why Indianapolis is aggressively clearing money from the cap. This is a team that needs its franchise quarterback and Jackson can be that. Moreover, it’d be a good situation that could conceivably afford to give up big money and two first-round picks to make such a deal.
Now, does this mean that’s certain? Absolutely not. This could just be simply cap-saving measures being taken with a forward-thinking lens. However, it’s also possible that the Colts are posturing for Lamar Jackson, and we’ll have to wait and see if that’s indeed the case.