Imagine if a former MVP that once led the NFL in passing touchdowns were to become available for teams to acquire. One would expect there to be a buzz among teams clamoring to get a shot at making said player their new quarterback.
Well, that’s exactly the case with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, except teams are lining up to say they don’t have interest in him. The Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson.
If Jackson were to agree to sign with another team and Baltimore declined to match the offer, Jackson’s new team would send two first-round picks to the Ravens. The non-exclusive tag is nearly $13 million less than the exclusive designation, coming in at $32.4 million.
According to multiple reports, the Washington Commanders, Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers are among the teams that are not interested in acquiring Jackson. These reports came out hours after the non-exclusive tag was placed on Jackson.
Am I missing something? Why would teams instantly say they have no interest in a quarterback of Jackson’s stature?
“Lamar Jackson is a Unanimous MVP,” former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Robert Griffin III said. “He has lead the NFL in Passing Touchdowns, is 26 years old, is 45-16 as a starter and All the QB needy teams are saying they aren’t interested. Don’t smell right to me.”
Added former NFL defensive back Bryant McFadden who works for CBS Sports, “The owners are making it a point to not allow another Deshaun Watson type of contract.”
Even future Hall of Famer JJ Watt had something to say.
“Why are all of these teams so publicly “out” on Lamar Jackson, an MVP winner in his prime at the most important position in the entire NFL,” Watt said.
What am I missing here?
Per Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson, the Ravens and Jackson are still far apart. Jackson is reportedly seeking something in the range of Deshaun Watson’s fully guaranteed $230 million deal with Cleveland Browns.
Jackson has cemented himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, despite not playing in a passing scheme that fully showcases his ability as a passer. Previous offensive coordinator Greg Roman was known more for his extensive run play catalog that featured Jackson.
Jackson rushed for over 1,000 yards twice in the last four years. He was unable to complete each of the last two seasons due to injury but still rushed for at least 700 yards in both seasons. The Ravens have a 45-16 record with Jackson as a starter. Jackson has proven himself to be able to carry The Ravens at a minimum into the playoffs.
Some have made a fuss about his 1-3 record in the playoffs with the Ravens, but he led them to the postseason three times. His only postseason win came on the road against the Tennessee Titans in January 2021. The two-time Pro Bowler has managed a total of 900 passing yards and three touchdowns across his four playoff games.
It’s safe to say that Jackson has proven himself as a commodity that should be in high demand across the league and especially with the Ravens. Baltimore has a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken who has already raved about Jackson.
“He has an elite skillet,” Monken said during his introductory press conference. “It’s obvious when you watch him on film, the things he can do with the football and the plays that he makes. I think he’s underrated as a passer in terms of his ability to make plays and throw it down the field.”
It’s going to be an interesting ride. Buckle up.