ESPN projects what 49ers would surrender in Lamar Jackson trade


It's unlikely that the 49ers will make a move for a superstar quarterback this offseason, but certainly not impossible. 

If they were to make a move, who would they pursue? Tom Brady appears settled on retirement and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reportedly is meeting with the New York Jets. Would Baltimore Ravens dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson make sense?

Jackson officially was given the non-exclusive franchise tag by the Ravens on Monday. That means any team can sign Jackson to an offer sheet, which then gives Baltimore five days to match the offer. If the Ravens were to decline, the team that signs Jackson then would have to surrender both 2023 and 2024 first-round picks to Baltimore. That's where it gets tricky for the 49ers, who are without a first-round pick in 2023 after trading up to select Trey Lance with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

However, Baltimore is able to forego the two first-round pick compensation and negotiate a different package for Jackson if it chose to, which would give the 49ers a fighting chance. 

ESPN's Bill Barnwell ranked the teams that he believes are the best fit for Jackson, with the 49ers at No. 15 on the list. Jackson certainly would provide the 49ers with an upgrade at the position and San Francisco's plethora of offensive weapons would give the former league MVP an elite arsenal. 

"When coach Kyle Shanahan traded up to draft Trey Lance in the first round in 2021, he was picking a player capable of fitting into the league's most diverse set of playmakers," Barnwell writes. "Every back and receiver the 49ers use regularly on offense is capable of lining up anywhere before the snap and touching the ball as a rusher or pass-catcher afterward. It's an offense of hybrids."

"The 49ers are a dream for any quarterback, given Shanahan's game-calling ability and the variety of playmakers available," Barnwell adds. "Jackson would slide right into the offense Lance was running before his injury. This would be an easy yes."

The scenario is fun to think about, but how realistic is it? Barnwell broke down what a potential package might look like. 

"Lance would have to head back to the Ravens, but would Baltimore feel the same way about him as Shanahan & Co. did two years ago? These two teams would have to get creative," Barnwell explains. "What about Lance, Aiyuk and a 2024 first-round pick to the Ravens for Jackson and a 2024 fourth-round selection? I believe the 49ers are more likely to stay put at quarterback outside of adding a veteran backup such as Matt Ryan."

RELATED: Seven veteran QBs the 49ers could target this offseason

Would this trade get done? If not, who says no? And how would the 49ers be able to afford Jackson's potentially record-breaking contract in an offseason where they will attempt to sign Defensive Player of the year Nick Bosa to an extension?

The 49ers appear to be preparing for a quarterback battle between Lance and Brock Purdy and likely will decide between the two once both are healthy and ready for the start of the 2023 season. Until then, let the speculation begin. 

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