Baltimore Ravens Place Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag On Lamar Jackson: Here’s What That Means For The MVP QB

Lamar Jackson NFL
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The NFL offseason is in full swing, and though the start of the next season of football is still six months away, big moves are beginning to take place across the National Football League. It is during this period that teams are beginning to either lock in their star players for the foreseeable future or steal star players away from other teams struggling to agree on contracts.

There may not be a contract negotiation situation more complicated than former MVP Quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens drafted Jackson as the 32nd pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The shifty, dual threat quarterback out of the University of Louisville had an immediate impact for the Ravens, and one could argue has set the tone for many NFL franchises looking to move towards mobile quarterbacks in recent years.

The pairing of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens has resulted in great success, with four of Jackson’s five years in Baltimore ending with winning seasons. Lamar was even awarded the NFL League MVP award in 2019 after shredding opposing defenses for 36 passing touchdowns, 7 Rushing Scores, 3,217 yards passing, and a 113.3 passer rating (all those numbers to say he’s really damn good at football).

So with all the success, it seems as though it would be a no brainer to continue the mutually beneficial relationship, as Jackson’s fifth and final year of his rookie contract come to an end, right?

Well, it might not be that simple…

The biggest hindrance in the contract negotiations between Jackson and the Ravens is the portion of his new contract that would be “fully guaranteed.”

The Ravens QB, who represents himself in these negotiations, has looked around the league and seen other quarterbacks that have signed guaranteed deals (such as Deshaun Watson) and wants to follow suit.

Why is fully guaranteed such a big deal?

Though Lamar Jackson has won an MVP award and led the Ravens to multiple winning seasons, his durability and the potential longevity of his dual-threat playing style have kept the team in Baltimore from committing long term.

Jackson has missed multiple back halves of seasons with injuries, and though he has helped lead the Ravens to the playoffs in his tenure with the team, he has missed the last two year’s playoff matchups with injuries.

Which brings us to today, which was the deadline to “franchise tag” players in the NFL, meaning that every team across the league had the chance to “tag” one player from their respective teams that were set to be unrestricted free agents.

With no deal in place, the Ravens chose to utilize their franchise tag on Lamar Jackson, meaning as long as they can meet certain conditions, they would keep Jackson for another year.

The buzz word though with this franchise tag is that it is “Non-Exclusive,” which gives the opportunity for other teams to swoop in and offer contracts to Lamar Jackson, but the Ravens have the opportunity to match any offer.

So what does this all mean?

From Lamar’s point of view, he can still search out long term deals with other teams in hopes of securing a guaranteed contract. From the Raven’s perspective, they can still somewhat maintain control of Jackson while hoping that a team doesn’t actually come in and offer a long term, financially fruitful contract.

Basically, after months of contract negotiations, the Baltimore Ravens are attempting to call Jackson’s bluff.

Only time will tell now how the contract will work out, but like Kenny Rogers once said:

“You got to know when to hold em’, know when to fold em’, know when to walk away and know when to run”

Now all football fans can do is sit back and wait to see whether Lamar Jackson or the Baltimore Ravens walk away from the table happy.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock