We’re just days away from the start of NFL free agency, yet Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens continue to linger in an awkward limbo. The Ravens officially placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on their superstar quarterback, which allows another team to sign the 2019 MVP to an offer sheet, which the Ravens can match or decline and receive two first-round picks from said team instead.
But unlike most other athletes, Jackson made the decision not to hire a player agent to handle his contract negotiations long ago. This was certainly questioned at the time and has only since become more controversial.
Jackson may prefer to keep more of his own salary for himself and his family (his mother helps him in contract negotiations), but at what cost?
Some NFL insiders actually believe one of the biggest reasons why Jackson has yet to sign another contract since his rookie deal is actually because of his choice to avoid hiring a professional agent to handle discussions.
The Athletic‘s Mike Jones and Mike Sando have heard from several agents and NFL executives who suggest Jackson would already have his contract signed if only he had an agent to conduct his business for him.
While it’s hard to know the specifics at this point, why negotiations have yet to reach an agreement. There are several working theories, but Jackson not having an agent could very well be the leading cause.
In most cases, an agent could work quietly behind the scenes, either discreetly discussing a contract with other NFL teams, or at least getting a feel for what his services would command on the open market. Instead, it’s all left up to Jackson, his mother, and possibly even some assistance from the NFL Players Association, which isn’t exactly on Baltimore’s side when it comes to getting the best value for their otherworldly QB.
So we continue to wait for news on Jackson’s next contract, with the possibility of him landing elsewhere lingering on. While teams have been very quick to suggest they are not interested, how can any of us believe that to be true?