Sometime in the 2nd Quarter during yesterday's NFL Playoffs live stream I wondered aloud, would Daniel Jones be a better investment at $0.70 cents on the dollar for Lamar Jackson? I had a back & forth with PFT Commenter and it's an interesting question. It might not as cut and dry as you may think.
Yes, I do think Lamar Jackson is the better player right now when healthy. But that's part of it. Lamar Jackson is out tonight making this his 11th missed game in the last two seasons. Daniel Jones did miss six games last season with a neck injury that landed him on IR. He missed a combined five games his first two seasons with various nagging injuries that don't appear repetitive. Lamar Jackson missed five games last year with an ankle injury and will miss at least six games this year with a knee injury (PCL).
I decided to ask the masses and it was a fairly split vote:
Some basic comparables:
- Jackson is surprisingly thicker at 6'2" 212 lbs. than the taller Jones who is 6'5" 221 lbs.
- Both are basically the same age (~26, only a few months apart)
- Injury history is fairly even as both have missed 11 games, but Lamar has missed more recently.
Lamar can do things like this:
and also things like this:
He will never win in a highlight off, but I would vote Daniel Jones and I would do so for a few reasons:
He's cheaper. Again, we're talking a $15M/year difference. That's significant. You can get another top tier player with that money. Additionally, it's not fully guaranteed. The guarantee part sets it aside as there have been rumors Lamar is looking for a fully guaranteed deal. If Jackson gets injured, you could be on the hook for that.
Lamar Jackson may not be scheme versatile. And I say this as a big Lamar Jackson fan. But you cannot run every offense with Lamar Jackson at QB. If you're throwing it 40+ times/game and not a big running team, you're not playing to his strengths. Do you hire Greg Roman as your OC and run the same offense as the Ravens? You certainly could and that would be successful, especially if you have more playmakers at the skill positions. But you're also banking on him running a lot and staying healthy. With Jones, we just saw him go 24/35 for 301 yards and 2 TDs with 0 INTs and also run it 17 times for 78 yards in a road playoff win. So it's not like they were holding him back. They let him lead the team up and down the field and were successful. Can he do it against Philly next week? We'll see. But the fact he can be a bit more scheme versatile would give him the nod for me. In addition to being cheaper and less recent injury history.
At the end of the day, I'm picking for not just 2023 but for several years down the road. I think when GMs strip down Daniel Jones and just see a 6'5" QB with a big arm, good accuracy (was 67% this year!), and great mobility, that's the guy that goes at the top of the Draft. But what do you think? Lamar Jackson at 5-year $250M, $50M/year (*fully guaranteed) or Daniel Jones at 5-years $175M, $35M/year?