The Ravens Placed The Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag On Lamar Jackson, Meaning He Can Negotiate With Other Teams

As the franchise tag deadline loomed, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens were unable to reach an agreement on a long-term deal to keep the former MVP in Baltimore.

The result was the Ravens putting the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, which has a price tag of $32.4 million for next season, while allowing Jackson to negotiate freely with other teams.

However, while Jackson can negotiate any deal he wants elsewhere, the Ravens can match any offer sheet Jackson signs or, if they let him walk, will receive two first-round picks. The two first-round picks would not be a massive return for Jackson by any stretch, particularly given what Russell Wilson and other stars have gone for recently. That said, it does mitigate the damage a bit for the Ravens should Jackson find a team willing to give him what he wants.

Mostly, though, this seems to be the Ravens wanting to prove to Jackson that there is not another team in the league willing to give him the guaranteed money he is demanding, and will let the market show him what is actually out there for his (tremendous) services. For teams pursuing Jackson, this makes the upcoming negotiations very tricky. As to what teams will get involved, that remains to be seen but one of the expected top suitors is apparently not going to be in the mix, as Dianna Russini reports the Falcons will not make an offer to Jackson.

Those teams will have to figure out what they’re willing to offer Jackson (who is negotiating the deal himself as he doesn’t have an agent) and what will be enough to make sure the Ravens don’t simply match the offer sheet. Baltimore seems fairly convinced there’s not a fully guaranteed deal out there — as Jackson has reportedly asked for like what Deshaun Watson got from Cleveland — but what we don’t know is what number they’re willing to go up to in order to keep their star in town. A team like the Raiders, which is desperate for a star QB and doesn’t have a draft pick this year that is likely to get them one of the top QBs in this year’s Draft, could choose to accept the risk and pay Jackson the guaranteed figure he wants, hoping that he stays healthy long enough to make it all worthwhile.

This all could pay dividends for Jackson, provided teams think he is actually attainable on the market and are willing to try and throw him an offer that would make Baltimore balk. Whether that market presents itself or not will, if nothing else, tell us where the rest of the league stands on Lamar’s value long-term.