Lamar Jackson’s uncertain future with the Baltimore Ravens has become even more uncertain.
NFL.com reported Saturday that the Ravens are prepared to use the franchise tag on their star quarterback if the two sides can’t reach a new contract agreement.
However, the report says team sources say they could be tempted to trade Jackson if another team offers a lucrative deal featuring draft picks.
Recall how Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said during his postseason media briefing that there is a “200 percent chance” Jackson remains with the Ravens. This latest report makes it seem far from a done deal.
Jackson and the Ravens are reportedly far apart in financial terms on a contract. He turned down a six-year, $133 million offer last summer. The NFL QB market then dramatically reset when the Cleveland Browns gave Deshaun Watson a five-year, $230 million contract.
Jackson’s value to the Ravens is undeniable. The 2019 NFL MVP has a 45-16 record as the starter in Baltimore. On the other hand, he’s missed five games each of the past two seasons, and his playing style puts him more at risk of injury than most quarterbacks.
The NFL tag deadline is March 7. According to the NFL.com report, one possibility involves Baltimore placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, paying him $32.416 million in 2023. He could then negotiate with another team, and if the Ravens can’t match another team’s offer, they would receive two first-round picks as compensation as Jackson moves on.
A less likely scenario: The Ravens could possibly tag Jackson in 2023, then again in 2024 and 2025, although a tag in that final year would be cost-prohibitive. And it’s hard to imagine Jackson, or the Ravens, would be happy to work together under those circumstances.
For now, though, Jackson’s future in Baltimore has never been cloudier.
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