Ravens Predicted to Sign NFL Rushing Champion to Help Lamar Jackson

Another MVP season underlined the strides Lamar Jackson made for the Baltimore Ravens last season, but the dual-threat quarterback still needs help. He can get help if the Ravens sign former NFL rushing champion Josh Jacobs from the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency.

Jacobs, who led the league in rushing in 2022, would be a “long-term option” for a Ravens backfield possibly set to be decimated this offseason, according to the Pro Football Network’s Dallas Robinson. He noted how “Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins, Melvin Gordon, and Dalvin Cook are scheduled to reach the open market in March, while rookie phenom Keaton Mitchell will be recovering from a torn ACL.”

That’s a lot of rushing talent potentially playing elsewhere next season. The Ravens should still be strong on the ground thanks to Jackson’s mobility, but Jacobs would still be an asset, despite a down year in 2023.

Robinson explained how “Baltimore’s offensive line is better than the Las Vegas Raiders OL Jacobs played behind last season, while his pass-catching prowess could work for the Ravens if Lamar stops scrambling as often as he ages.”

Acquiring Jacobs would require some creativity with the salary cap from Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta. It would be worth it to give Jackson a true RB1 and end Baltimore’s reliance on a rushing committee.

Josh Jacobs Often Mentioned in Connection With the Ravens

This is far from the first time the Ravens have been suggested as the right fit for Jacobs. They were named an “appealing” landing spot for the 26-year-old back in December. The Ravens were also urged to make a push for Jacobs ahead of 2023 free agency.

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It makes sense for so many writers to make this pairing of team and player. Jacobs is a natural workhorse who can dominate in both phases of offense.

He’s capable of handling 20 carries a game. That’s an obvious asset for a Ravens team still tethered to their ground attack. Jacobs has averaged 17.9 rushing attempts per game throughout his career, according to Pro Football Reference.

His best year came in 2022 when Jacobs topped the rushing charts with 1,653 yards and 93 first downs on the ground. He also ripped off seven runs of 20-plus yards, but wasn’t anywhere near as explosive last season.

Jacobs mustered just three runs of 20 or more yards, but he did burn the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs for this 63-yard touchdown in Week 12.

JOSH JACOBS BREAKAWAY TD!!!!

📺: #KCvsLV on CBS
📱: Stream on #NFLPlus https://t.co/1dOevJjoZZ pic.twitter.com/6iTBeJjCLW

— NFL (@NFL) November 26, 2023

This kind of big-play threat, combined with Jacobs’ ability to move the chains, makes him ideal to reduce Jackson’s workload. So do the runner’s underrated contributions to the passing game.

Jacobs has averaged over seven yards after catch per reception during every season of his career, per Pro Football Reference. Adding him to the backfield would give Jackson a complete back to lean on as he focuses on becoming a more consistent passer in coordinator Todd Monken’s offense.

Lamar Jackson Needs Help

Jackson made improvements as a passer last season. His 326 on-target throws was a career-high, while Jackson’s 16.6 bad-throw percentage marked a career low, according to Pro Football Reference.

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Monken had Jackson throw the ball 457 times, the most since his first MVP season in 2019. Yet, amid all the passing attempts, Jackson still relied a lot on his legs.

Unfortunately, his tendency to run didn’t always equate to wins. Like when Jackson’s 14 attempts and two scores couldn’t overcome the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3.

Lamar Jackson rushing vs the Colts

14 attempts
90 yards
60 yards after contact
7 forced missed tackles
8 first downs
2 TDs pic.twitter.com/nXU2XM4Nv3

— PFF BAL Ravens (@PFF_Ravens) September 25, 2023

It’s not all on the quarterback, but as NFL.com’s Kevin Patra put it, “the Ravens need someone to take some of the load off Jackson.”

Jacobs fits the bill, but signing him will be a challenge. DeCosta is projected by Spotrac.com to have $12,078,444 to work with under the salary cap.

That’s enough to accommodate Jacobs’ projected annual market value of $10.6 million, but the Ravens have other pressing needs in free agency. Notably, retaining defensive tackle Justin Madubuike and safety Geno Stone, as well as retooling the offensive line.

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