The Indianapolis Colts are a logical trade partner to potentially land Lamar Jackson, but team owner Jim Irsay’s comments did not help.
You would think that a quarterback-needy team like the Indianapolis Colts would have lunged at the opportunity to land a generational, MVP-winning quarterback like Lamar Jackson when he revealed he formally requested a trade on Monday.
Instead, the Colts, and specifically owner Jim Irsay, pushed themselves further away. Make it make sense!
Jackson’s trade request is weeks old, but Jackson chose Monday to let his fans know, via Twitter, that he requested a deal.
Irsay, commenting on the news, said that the price to pay Jackson doesn’t scare him, but that the guarantees he’s looking for do. Here’s what he told Zak Keefer of The Athletic:
"“As an owner I do not believe in fully-guaranteed contracts. I think that a percentage is one thing, but from what I’ve seen from the NBA and baseball, I don’t see it as a positive competitively.”"
Being against guaranteed contracts is one thing, but letting it be known that you have zero interest in meeting the desires of the hottest available quarterback pulls you out of the conversation to land him right away. Irsay put all his cards out on the table and showed everyone he has… Nothing.
Jim Irsay misses the mark with his philosophy on guaranteed contracts
Aside from this being a questionable statement from a negotiation and leverage standpoint, Irsay is missing the mark a little bit on his philosophy with guaranteed deals in general.
Make no mistake, guaranteed deals can be a paralyzing factor for NFL teams. Just look at the Broncos and Russell Wilson. Deshaun Watson and the Browns are still early on, but that ridiculous deal is unlikely to pan out precisely the way Cleveland might hope.
But if you want to secure a proven, MVP-winning quarterback for more than one year, a guaranteed deal is probably the standard in today’s NFL.
Billionaire owners dislike guaranteed deals in part because it hurts their liquidity. Teams need to put a substantial portion of the guaranteed portion of a deal into escrow long before it comes due. This is thanks to The Funding Rule, which has been called archaic by NFLPA President JC Tretter.
The Colts could have at least given some thought to committing to Jackson before coming out and saying they wouldn’t offer him what he’s looking for. Irsay seems to be putting his checkbook above wins. That’s not good.