The Baltimore Ravens gave Lamar Jackson the non-exclusive franchise tag. What does that mean moving forward?
Boy oh boy, the Baltimore Ravens really did it. After essentially a year of negotiations, or lack thereof, with quarterback Lamar Jackson, the two sides were much too far apart in contract expectations to lock in a long-term deal.
The Ravens designated Jackson with the franchise tag. Specifically, they used the non-exclusive franchise tag. That particular designation — instead of the exclusive franchise tag — paves the way for other teams to offer Jackson a long-term deal.
So, what happens next?
Here’s what’s next for Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens
Really, what’s next is just waiting. Now that Jackson has been designated, other teams can provide him with offer sheets if they wish to try to swoop him away from the Ravens. If no team does, which feels unlikely, Jackson will play a one-year deal with the Ravens. If he chooses not to play that one-year deal, he would need to sit out the year and collect $0.
While you might think the Ravens are foolish for letting other teams get in on the bidding for Jackson (they could have used the exclusive tag, which would have kept him from talking to other teams), this is a sneaky good route for Baltimore to take because it gives them the opportunity to keep Jackson in Baltimore at a market rate without having to carry out negotiations — which have clearly gone nowhere — even longer.
With the non-exclusive tag, other teams can offer Jackson a contract, but Baltimore has the right to match any offer sheet he receives. They have the final say on keeping him in Baltimore or not. General manager Eric DeCosta said the team wants to keep him around and build with him.
Furthermore, if the Ravens don’t match the contract, the team that signs Jackson needs to send two first-round picks to the Ravens.
Teams will not want to offer Jackson as much money as they would if the Ravens were entirely uninvolved when they also have to give up draft capital. So the offers Baltimore will have to match are going to be ostensibly lower than market value.
Jackson has wanted a contract that’s above and beyond what Baltimore is willing to do. Previously, Jackson’s proof has been Deshaun Watson’s deal and other absurdly high quarterback contracts in the NFL. Now, the Ravens are basically calling his bluff and saying, “if other teams will pay you that much, we’ll match it, but we don’t believe that’s your market.”
The Ravens keep control, while opening things up to a little bit of chaos. Should be fun.