With so many teams already out on Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, is there any truth behind NFL rumors of collusion?
The Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson prior to the 4 p.m. ET deadline on Tuesday. What this means is that a rival team can try to sign Jackson to a deal, but they would owe the Ravens two first-round picks in the process. Baltimore would also get a chance to match any contract.
The non-exclusive tag on its own pays Jackson just over $32 million for next season. For reference, Daniel Jones just signed a $40 million/year deal. Jackson is the better player.
Upon first glance, one would think Baltimore has some competition for Jackson’s services. Yet, within a couple of hours after the tag deadline passed, at least five organizations made it known that they are not in on Lamar.
Well, that’s fishy, isn’t it? All five teams could use an upgrade at quarterback, and Jackson is one of the 10 best QBs in the sport, if not better. He’s under the age of 27 and a former league MVP. How am I missing the point?
Lamar Jackson collusion: Why aren’t NFL teams interested in Ravens QB?
Just last offseason, droves of teams were interested in Texans QB Deshaun Watson despite over 20 allegations of sexual assault against him. The Falcons, Saints, Panthers and Browns had a bidding war, with Cleveland winning and giving Watson the largest contract in NFL history. It was entirely guaranteed.
Jackson has no such transgressions in his past, but he’s been made the poster boy for poor spending habits. The Falcons would rather start Desmond Ridder than sign Jackson. The Dolphins, who just last week said they were open on all possible QB upgrades, are closed when it comes to Jackson. The Panthers current QB options are Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker. The Washington Commanders would rather start Sam Howell. And the Las Vegas Raiders feature Jarrett Stidham.
There is no evidence of collusion between NFL teams because it’s proven a rather tough charge to even allege in league circles. Jackson deserves his money — and ideally the Ravens will give it to him.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio laid out this argument fairly well in his recent column:
“Now, after the NFL Players Association already has filed a grievance alleging collusion in the refusal to give fully-guaranteed contracts to “certain quarterbacks,” teams that otherwise should be at least talking to a former MVP who is available for two first-round picks have made it known to the world not to bother connection them to Lamar.
We all know what’s going on. And we also know that, when push comes to shove, the collusion will never be proven.”
To convict on charges of collusion, one needs an immeasurable amount of proof that several organizations discussed and agreed to avoid Lamar Jackson on the free-agent market. It’s highly unlikely that’ll happen.
But is there a gentleman’s agreement not to drive up the price of the quarterback market beyond its already unpredictable means?
I’ll let you be the judge.