Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson began an uncertain offseason by posting a
screenshot of a mysterious quote on Instagram the day after the Ravens’ season ended with
a 24-17 wild-card loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
The phrase began, “When you have something nice, you don’t play with it.” You don’t want
to risk losing it; You take care of it. You pour everything you have into something worthwhile.
I know you value it. Because you are also taken care of when you meet the needs of
something good.” Naturally, a post like this has started to spread wildfire amongst fans and
those around the NFL, with many speculating about what might happen during the
Three Options Available For Ravens & Lamar Jackson
The only three outcomes are signing Jackson, who is unrepresented, to a long-term
contract, placing the franchise tag on him, or trading him, which is a previously unfathomable
The Ravens and Jackson – who is considered to be one of the best in the NFL – can reopen
contract talks now that their season has over. The Ravens announced that they could not
reach a deal by the start of the next season, which was Jackson’s self-imposed deadline,
more than four months ago, and controversy has been brewing around the impasse.
The most crucial offseason in Raven’s history will revolve around how this situation plays
Possibility 1: A lengthy agreement
Given the two-year-long contract negotiations, it is deemed to be a farfetched outcome at
this point. With Baltimore and Jackson still having two months left until their deadline set by
the NFL on July 15th, there remains an opportunity for them to reach an agreement before
any franchise tag from the Ravens has been utilized. Otherwise, Jackson will have no choice
but to play out his season with that same tag if they fail to come up with a deal during this
According to Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter from ESPN, Jackson turned down the
Ravens’ five-year offer of $250 million with an initial guarantee of $133 million. In terms of
average annual salary and money promised upon signing, this would have made him the
second highest-paid QB in history. Talks are now stalled as a result.
Despite reports to the contrary, it appears that Jackson’s request for a secure contract akin
to the five-year $230 million offer made by Cleveland Browns to Deshaun Watson was shot
down by his team’s executives.
Possibility 2: Franchise tagging
It’s unlikely that Jackson will be able to leave Baltimore in free agency, which is why the
franchise tag may be employed. The Ravens can use two variations of this tag: non-
exclusive or exclusive. If they opt for a non-exclusive one from February 21 to March 7,
Jackson can negotiate with other teams while it costs the team less – although their
bargaining power decreases as well. On top of that, should he sign an offer sheet elsewhere,
then Baltimore has the ability to match any deal or require compensation worth two first-
round selections instead!
If Baltimore seeks to gain more than two first-round selections for Jackson, then the non-
exclusive tag of $30 million to $35 million is a much more budget-friendly option.
Nonetheless, if they desire full control over trade negotiations while ensuring that Jackson
remains in their camp, opting for the considerably pricier exclusive tag would be ideal.
In truth, it would not be a surprise to see the team go down this route if they are not able to
secure a new deal. Many around Baltimore would actually perhaps consider betting on this
outcome happening, especially now that Maryland has allowed for legal sports wagering.
Punters are able to use a registered Maryland betting app safely and securely now, where
they can take advantage of betting markets, including those that feature the Ravens and
Ten days after the Green Bay Packers tagged Davante Adams, their wide receiver was sold
to the Las Vegas Raiders. A team must wait until a player is under contract before they can
trade them; similarly, in order for Jackson to be traded by Baltimore he would have to sign
his tender first – as Adams did. Fortunately, Jackson has full control of where he goes with
this deal: if any proposed trades do not satisfy him, then he will always have an option out
due to declining his contract tender.
If teams are looking to acquire Jackson, the Ravens may set their asking price despite its
expensive and exclusive tag – which is estimated at a whopping $45 million. The Ravens
currently possess only slightly more than $40 million in salary-cap space, thus necessitating
that Baltimore is under the limit when March 15th arrives. As such, it’s safe to say that this
tradeoff promises an exciting outcome for both sides!
Possibility 3: Trading
Before the season began, any suggestion of bringing in Jackson would have likely been met
with criticism. Despite that, Raven’s general manager Eric DeCosta confidently declared that
he had faith that Jackson could lead Baltimore to win several Super Bowls as early as March
when they signed Watson’s contract. Coach John Harbaugh echoed these sentiments when
September rolled around and predicted, “he’s going to play quarterback for a long time.”
Sadly, however, Jackson has not been able to complete one full consecutive season due to
injuries; missing 10 out of their last 22 games (including playoffs).
If the Ravens are certain that they cannot make a deal with Jackson, then they should
contemplate trading him in either this summer or the next. It’s difficult to conceive that
Baltimore would be content receiving a third-round compensatory selection when allowing
Jackson is to play the upcoming two seasons on the franchise tag and become unrestricted in
While it’s uncertain how much draft capital Baltimore could acquire by trading Jackson, one
thing is sure – due to him being only 26 this month, his market value should be much greater
compared to when 33-year-old Russell Wilson was traded last year. While Seattle sent two
first and second-round picks for the latter, one can expect that amount of compensation
won’t do justice with regards to what Baltimore will get from a trade involving Lamar
Although Wilson and the Broncos had an unsuccessful season, with only five wins and a
27th rank 37.0 QBR, their hefty QB contracts did not prove profitable in their first year – just
like the Browns’. Nathaniel Hackett was terminated as head coach following this dismal
Following a violation of the NFL’s code of conduct, Watson had to sit out for six games. In
his limited participation, he managed seven touchdown passes and five interceptions with an
overall passer rating of 38.3.
Jackson’s future remains uncertain
Lamar Jackson’s future is uncertain, and it will be interesting to see what he decides to do
next. Whether he chooses to stay with the Ravens or move on, one thing is for sure: Lamar
Jackson is an incredible talent and will have a successful career regardless of his decision.