Ravens open door for a potential Lamar Jackson departure

The Baltimore Ravens officially placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson in one of the franchise’s boldest moves in recent history.

What’s even bolder is that the Ravens chose to use the non-exclusive, rather than the exclusive, franchise tag on Jackson, which signifies that Baltimore is open to offloading the star quarterback this offseason.

The non-exclusive tag deals the Ravens a $32.4 million cap hit and allows Jackson to negotiate with other teams. If Jackson signs a deal with another team, the Ravens could match the deal or let Jackson leave for two first-round picks.

In other words, the Lamar Jackson saga isn’t over yet and could get dragged out for the rest of the offseason and even into the 2023 season. Jackson can officially start negotiating with other teams on March 15; if the Ravens want to continue hammering out an extension, they will have until July 17 to do so.

After July 17, Jackson could delay signing the franchise tender until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the regular season. Any team can also offer him a new deal up until that point.

Lamar Jackson’s future is blown wide open after Ravens use non-exclusive franchise tag on him

Despite the messiness of a non-exclusive tag, Baltimore released a statement indicating the team still wants to retain Jackson for 2023 and beyond. The franchise stated that it remained hopeful about striking a “fair” long-term deal with Jackson and also said the ultimate goal was to “build a championship team” that included Jackson under center.

This marks the first time in franchise history that the Ravens are using the franchise tag on a quarterback, and it comes after months of turmoil during which Baltimore and Jackson have been unable to agree to a long-term extension.

Jackson, who doesn’t have an agent, has been gunning for a fully guaranteed deal like Cleveland Browns’ Deshaun Watson’s precedent-setting contract. The Ravens didn’t want to pay Jackson that much money and may be assuming no one else does, either.

Any potential suitor will have to go above and beyond the $250 million deal (with $133 million guaranteed) the Ravens offered Jackson last year, not to mention fork over two first-rounders to Baltimore as well.

One highly rumored candidate, the Atlanta Falcons, has already seemingly bowed out of the race. Jackson will likely attract more suitors in the coming months as his contract saga is far from over.

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