Earlier this week, the Baltimore Ravens tagged star quarterback Lamar Jackson with the non-exclusive franchise tag. The former MVP can negotiate a contract with other NFL teams, but the Ravens will have the opportunity to match any contract Jackson signs.
A quarterback has never signed a contract with another team on the non-exclusive tag and not had the contract matched. In 2009, the New England Patriots placed the non-exclusive tag on quarterback Matt Cassel, then traded him to the Chiefs.
With New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones signing a four-year, $160 million contract this offseason, the price for Jackson should go up. However, recent reports indicate the market for Jackson may not be all that competitive.
NFL teams are already reportedly out on Lamar Jackson
Five NFL teams are already reportedly out on Jackson. That list includes the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Commanders, Carolina Panthers, Las Vegas Raiders and Miami Dolphins. Outside of the Dolphins, none of those teams made the playoffs in 2022, and none of them currently have a franchise quarterback in place.
The lack of a market makes little sense. Jackson has consistently performed well throughout his career, without elite weapons and an often injured running back room. He has missed four games in each of the previous two seasons, but when healthy, he is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league. It does not appear that health is why teams do not want Jackson’s services.
Jackson’s contract certainly will not come cheap, but that is expected from a top-10 quarterback. If the Giants will give Jones $40 million per year, Jackson’s production should certainly warrant more.
There is always the chance this is a smokescreen set up by front offices. NFL teams do not often show their hand during free agency or the draft, but it is odd to publicly announce that a team is not interested.
Maybe teams do not want to pay the price of two first-round picks to the Ravens for Jackson. On the non-exclusive tag, Baltimore is locked in on only two first-rounders in any trade package for Jackson. However, with the quarterback trades of recent years, that is a steal, especially for a former MVP.
Former NFL players are just as confused about the lack of a market for Lamar Jackson
Where will Lamar Jackson end up
There is plenty of reason to doubt that all five of the reported teams are actually out on Jackson. All of them could use an upgrade at quarterback, even the Dolphins. According to BetOnline, the Detroit Lions are the favorites to land Jackson should he leave the Ravens. Detroit has the draft capital to make a move for Jackson, and the team has aspirations for a playoff run in 2023.
Other teams to keep an eye on are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets. Of course, it would not be a shock if Jackson winds up back with the Ravens on a long-term contract either.
The answer to Jackson’s next NFL team will not be revealed until after March 15. Per Tom Pelissero, no team is allowed to negotiate a contract with Jackson until that date.
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