Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had the non-exclusive franchise tag placed on him earlier this week after more than a calendar year of failed contract negotiations.
Said tag will pay Jackson $32.42 million in 2023, which is well below market value. Of course, there’s still a chance that another team signs Jackson to an offer sheet in free agency while handing over two first-round picks to the Baltimore Ravens.
The unlikeliest scenario here is that Jackson and the Ravens somehow reverse course and are able to come to terms on a long-term contract. A previous report suggested that Jackson’s camp simply has not engaged the Ravens too much in contract talks.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport followed that up with a report that seemingly paints things in a negative light.
“They are trying, they have tried a variety of different ways. They’ve tried deals heavy in guarantees. They have tried all sorts of ways to get Lamar Jackson to respond and to take some sort of deal that would make him one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL.”Report on Lamar Jackson contract talks
NFL contracts are complex in the first place. However, Jackson not having an official agent has had a major impact in talks with Baltimore. In fact, some believe that he would be under contract long term if the former league MVP was represented by a certified NFLPA agent. That’s not the case right now.
Ravens have offered Lamar Jackson well north of $40 million annually
As Rapoport mentioned, this current situation is not for a lack of trying from Baltimore. There have been several suggestions over the past year or so that the star quarterback is more than willing to play under multiple one-year contracts (franchise tags) before eventually hitting free agency down the road.
As of right now, the Ravens have come in strong with their offer to the Pro Bowl signal caller.
“Believe me, if Lamar Jackson would take the deal that the Ravens have offered, he would make far more than $40 million, but that’s not where they are,” Rapoport reported.
The recent deals Daniel Jones, Geno Smith and Derek Carr inked ahead of free agency complicates things in this regard. In particular, Jones’ $40 million average salary with the New York Giants is more than $7 million more than what Jackson is slated to earn under the franchise tag in 2023. This will likely complicate things further.
Will a team make a play for Lamaar Jackson in NFL free agency?
This is almost literally the $200 million question. There are some around the NFL who believe Baltimore placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson to see what his market is.
Under this belief, Baltimore would then match any offer presented to Jackson once the NFL free agent tampering period opens on Monday. That could explain why pretty much every team linked to Jackson came out immediately after he had the franchise tag on him and leaked a lack of interest in the quarterback. Why engage when the likelihood of actually landing the generational talent is so low?
On the other hand, Jackson’s ongoing unwillingness to engage in extension talks could force Baltimore to make a difficult decision should a team sign him to an offer.
Look at the Atlanta Falcons as an example. They are slated to select eighth overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Acquiring that selection to go with a 2024 first-round pick could entice Baltimore. As for the Falcons, they have been linked to Jackson on a near never-ending loop. He’d be an obvious upgrade under center.
- Lamar Jackson career stats: 63.7% completion, 12,209 passing yards, 4,437 rushing yards, 135 TD, 38 INT, 96.7 QB rating
The Las Vegas Raiders are another option. Unlike other teams previously linked to Jackson, they did not leak a lack of interest in the quarterback when he had the tag placed on him. Vegas is slated to pick seventh in the 2023 NFL Draft and has a need at quarterback after releasing Derek Carr.