The Baltimore Ravens made a decision about Lamar Jackson. A non-exclusive franchise tag for the former NFL MVP. After more than two years of negotiations, an agreement couldn't be reached. With not many options on the table, the Ravens took a shocking path.
Many people wondered why the Ravens didn't lock Lamar Jackson with an exclusive franchise tag. The 26-year old quarterback has been crucial for their offense, but, the history of injuries made Baltimore really cautious. Suddenly, in an incredible turn of events, one of the best players in the league was available.
So, if an MVP is in the market, logic would dictate a lot of suitors for Lamar Jackson. That hasn't happened though he could be named in the same category as Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow or Aaron Rodgers. Read here to find out the important reasons why no team show interest in the star quarterback.
Which teams could sign Lamar Jackson with non-exclusive franchise tag?
Lamar Jackson wants a new deal using as a standard the contract signed by Deshaun Watson with the Browns in 2022. Even with an eleven-game suspension, Cleveland gave the controversial quarterback a five-year contract with $230 million fully guaranteed. Lamar won't accept less than that and teams are maybe not willing to pay.
After the Ravens exercised the non-exclusive tag ($32 million), Lamar Jackson is free to negotiate with any team in the NFL. However, the Ravens keep the right to match that offer or get in return two first-round draft picks as compensation. Two first-round picks don't seem a lot to at least ask for a former NFL MVP. Right?
For example, the Atlanta Falcons don't have a franchise quarterback and their salary cap situation allows them to pursue Lamar Jackson. Nevertheless, just a few hours after the Ravens tagged Lamar, many reports confirmed that they're out of the race trusting in second-year quarterback, Desmond Ridder. Ridder over Jackson is definitely a very intriguing decision.
Then, the domino effect kept coming. The Miami Dolphins, though they could negotiate only after the NFL Draft, are already out and will go on with Tua Tagovailoa. One has to wonder about the Dolphins considering the medical status of Tagovailoa remains uncertain after multiple concussions. They could have at least asked for Lamar Jackson. They won't.
The Carolina Panthers, another team without a franchise quarterback, seem to be also out of the race for Lamar Jackson. Same case for the Washington Commanders and the Las Vegas Raiders. So, in a surprising development, no franchise wants to at least interview with Lamar to find out what he wants. Just astonishing.
Though the word collusion has surfaced in the NFL, the most important aspect around Lamar Jackson is that teams are not willing to pay another guaranteeed contract such as the one of Deshaun Watson. That's the storyline. Considering Jackson is an injury prone player, teams are cautious to offer him probably the biggest contract in NFL history.
In the end, the Baltimore Ravens took the best decision at their disposal. Let the market dictate the money that we should pay to Lamar Jackson. Remember, they can match any offer sheet. So, if their negotiations weren't successful, a non-exclusive franchise tag is a sign for him to test the market. The problem for Lamar is that there isn't a market according to all the reports. If that trend continues, Baltimore would keep Lamar Jackson for an affordable $32 million.