From the outset, let me qualify my credentials for scouting NFL talent and effectively running a football organization:
With that out of the way, I wanted to share an idea I had for a 3-way trade that would (hopefully) positively impact the 3 franchises it involved. Here's the plan:
The Detroit Lions trade up 3 spots to claim the #3 pick from the Arizona Cardinals. Detroit gets #3, and Arizona gets #6 + #48 (if that's not sweet enough they could include Swift). My logic here is Arizona is devoid of talent on defense, and by trading back just 3 spots they still get to land top tier defensive talent at #6, while still getting defensive starters at picks #34 and #48 (and potentially Swift). In turn, Detroit gets the #3 pick (1 ahead of the Colts), making it a valuable bargaining chip for the next phase.
The fly in the ointment is whether Arizona would bother making that trade precisely BECAUSE of how valuable it is. Getting that pick before draft day would be ideal and Arizona might not want to move on from it if they feel like they can get a bigger haul on draft day from panicky teams. For that reason, surrendering Swift (which I think we're trying to do anyway) would (hopefully) push the Cardinals over the edge, not being able to pass up on starting RB talent + 2 premium picks in a defensively stacked draft class.
Assuming we end up with #3 and keep #55, the next phase would involve making the trade that makes this entire proposition stupid:
We trade the #3 overall pick and Jared Goff to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for Lamar Jackson. My logic here is that Baltimore won't be able to re-sign Jackson to a long-term deal since he's ready to move on. That could easily all be nonsense and him just playing the cards he has to get a long-term deal, but let's assume he actually does want out of Baltimore. If you're the Ravens, you're going to want draft capital in return (2 firsts currently). Rather than offer up 2 first rounders, we instead give Baltimore an insane value with the 1st we got from Arizona. At 3, they're guaranteed to have their choice of either Bryce, C.J., or Richardson, depending on what Carolina and Houston do. That allows them to draft their developmental prospect for the next 5 years. In the interim, they get Jared Goff who's coming off of a career year. Goff's contract is around the same cap hit as the franchise tag for Lamar, so they won't have to worry about salary for this year or the next. They'd be getting an above-average NFL starter who thrives in run-heavy schemes that utilize play action and favor ball control/defensive football. That's Baltimore's signature brand of football and it's the best system for Goff. They'd immediately be in/remain in playoff contention for the short-term while simultaneously setting themselves up for the long-term with the #3 pick. A day 1 starter, a top 3 pick for the long-term, and no more nightmare with an agent-less Lamar? That feels like a solid fit, right?
But that leaves us with the last piece, which is Lamar's contract with Detroit. Let's wrap this up.
Lamar wants a fully guaranteed contract, and I think we can give it to him while also protecting the club. I barely passed high school algebra, so I know what I'm talking about. Hear me out:
We get Lamar (still with pick #18 and #55, I might add), but we have to sign him. So what we offer him is this - 4 years, $200 million fully guaranteed. We add in triggers, incentives, and escalators for specific events like earning an NFL MVP, winning playoff games, hitting a certain # of games started, etc.
Lamar gets his fully guaranteed contract that'll see him being paid the 2nd most per season behind Aaron Rodgers (1st if Aaron's old patchouli ass retires). The timeline is perfect for him because he gets his payday, gets guaranteed generational wealth, but also gets a contract that gives him the freedom to sign ANOTHER huge contract in 4 years when he'll only be 30. The appeal should be great for him, especially depending on how we structure those incentives.
For Detroit, we get one of the leagues most dynamic and explosive playmakers in his prime. We're tied to him for 4 years, but we get to either exit that contract in a relatively short window if it doesn't pan out, or re-up if it turns out to be the signing of a lifetime. As for the money involved, when looking at the salary cap and the # of QBs that are going to be getting earth-shattering paydays next year and the year after, the rate of $50 million a year will end up being league-average for sub-30 year old top-10 QBs. The length of the contract also means that, with some creative cap management, we could probably just eat the final year if it was a terrible mistake and cut bait after 3 years.
Arizona gets #6, #48 (and potentially Deandre Swift) in exchange for #3
Detroit gets #3, then trades that pick + Jared Goff to Baltimore in exchange for Lamar
Lamar signs with Detroit - 4 years, $200 million fully guaranteed (up to $x more based on incentives)
I know people will hate this, but ultimately it's just a fun exercise to pass the time while I wait for the NFL Draft.
I look forward to being called out for my naivete and/or stupidity. :)