Colts trade for Lamar Jackson in The Athletic mock draft

Following the big news from Friday in which the Carolina Panthers traded up to the No. 1 overall pick, the Indianapolis Colts now have to weigh all of their options in the 2023 NFL draft.

One of the more exciting, yet mostly unrealistic options is trading for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who received the non-exclusive franchise tag earlier this week.

In this scenario, the Colts would trade the No. 4 overall pick and a 2024 first-round pick to the Ravens for Jackson. The Colts then would need to sign Jackson to a long-term deal, most of which would likely be guaranteed.

In the latest mock draft from The Athletic, Dane Brugler had the Colts making that trade and then had the Ravens taking Anthony Richardson with that pick.

Let’s have some fun. The Colts are in the unenviable position of having everyone know they need to take a mighty swing at quarterback. And waiting to see which quarterback falls to them at No. 4 feels like the type of conservative move that might cost GM Chris Ballard his job.

“Trading” for Lamar Jackson by signing him to an offer sheet that the Ravens don’t match would be an expensive proposition, obviously, but Jackson is a proven commodity who would be a ton of fun in Shane Steichen’s offense. He’d make the Colts immediate contenders for a deep playoff run.

Jackson’s fit within Steichen’s offense would be incredibly fun, but this is most likely a pipe-dream scenario. An argument could be made that the Colts would prefer to sit at No. 4 overall and take Richardson anyway.

Trading for Jackson is a complicated situation. The fact that he wants a fully guaranteed contract in the same light as Deshaun Watson is keeping teams from throwing blank checks at him.

That isn’t to say Jackson isn’t worth it. He’s a former unanimous MVP and is a game-breaking talent that would help the Colts compete in an extremely deep conference.

But few teams have the ability to put $200 million into an escrow account right away. It’s unknown if Jim Irsay is liquid enough to make that kind of move and whether he’d want to do that anyway considering Jackson’s recent injuries.

Trading for Jackson would be a fun idea, but it’s most likely an unrealistic scenario, especially when the team may just prefer to try for the upside of Richardson with Steichen at the helm.

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Story originally appeared on Colts Wire