The Baltimore Ravens have opened the door for other teams to pursue Lamar Jackson but many aren’t biting. The answer to why is shockingly simple.
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have remained at an impasse over his contract demands and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be sorted out any time soon.
Baltimore placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on the former MVP in a move supposedly designed to help get things going. With other teams able to negotiate with Jackson, his true market could be set.
Yet that market looks shockingly low at the moment. Already a handful of teams you’d expect to be interested, like the Falcons, have made it known they aren’t going to pursue Jackson despite a ridiculously low compensation of two first-round picks to land him.
What’s going on? Some have suggested that this is collusion between NFL teams trying to keep the cost of signing star quarterbacks as low as possible.
Here’s another possible explanation: Teams aren’t interested in helping the Ravens retain their QB.
Why aren’t teams leaping to negotiate with Lamar Jackson?
“Spoke with a front office member of a team who could potentially have interest in Lamar Jackson and he said ‘why should we do DeCosta’s dirty work for him? They’re just going to match any offer anyway’,” uSTADIUM tweeted.
Ian Rapoport added insight into to the complications for teams trying to pursue Jackson.
“Complicating factor: If a team signs Lamar Jackson to an offer sheet, Baltimore has five days to match. That knocks that team essentially out of free agency and loses them the other available QBs — because they are paralyzed in cap space just waiting. Not impossible. But hard,” Rapoport tweeted.
As much as the idea of collusion makes sense, this skepticism over the Ravens letting Jackson go anywhere else rings true as well.
The whole point of the Ravens tagging Jackson was to see what other teams would be willing to pay for the quarterback. Jackson reportedly wants a fully-guaranteed deal, which is what Deshaun Watson got. If negotiations with other teams didn’t yield a fully-guaranteed offer, then Baltimore would be vindicated. If Jackson did get an offer closer to what he wanted, then the Ravens would have to pay up.
Of course, that’s the problem. All of these scenarios benefit Baltimore, not the teams doing the negotiations because the Ravens would be able to match whatever deal Jackson found. It would be a waste of time for the Falcons to court Jackson if the end result would always end up with Jackson in a Ravens uniform.
Some teams, like the Lions, might still be willing to take that chance but there’s a reason so many teams aren’t taking the bait.
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