The Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson failed to come to an agreement on a contract extension, and the team decided to use the non-exclusive franchise tag on the one-time MVP.
Jackson will have the ability to negotiate contracts with other teams, and the Ravens will have the right to match any offer the quarterback receives elsewhere. However, as the Ravens announced the franchise tag, multiple reports came out of teams who need a quarterback but will not pursue him.
Retired defensive lineman J.J. Watt, former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III and plenty of others connected to the sport raised eyebrows – who would not be interested in an MVP quarterback even despite the hefty price tag it’s going to come with it?
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"Why are all of these teams so publicly ‘out’ on Lamar Jackson, an MVP winner in his prime at the most important position in the entire NFL?" Watt tweeted. "What am I missing here?"
Griffin added, "Lamar Jackson is a Unanimous MVP, has lead the NFL in Passing Touchdowns, is 26 years old, is 45-16 as a starter and All the QB needy teams are saying they aren’t interested. Don’t smell right to me."
Jackson was a unanimous MVP choice in his second season in the NFL in 2018. At the time, he led the league with 36 touchdown passes and had 3,127 passing yards. He has clearly showcased his ability to throw and run the ball to keep defenses off-balanced.
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The last two seasons have not exactly gone his way. Jackson has been injured in the latter half of the year in both 2021 and 2022, forcing him to miss the final fives games of each of those seasons.
He was 8-4 as a starter in 2022. He had 2,242 passing yards with 17 touchdown passes in addition to 764 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta remained hopeful the two sides would work out a deal.
"Having not yet reached a long-term deal with Lamar Jackson, we will use the franchise tag," DeCosta said in a statement. "There have been many instances across the league and in Baltimore when a player has been designated with the franchise tag and signed a long-term deal that same year. We will continue to negotiate in good faith with Lamar, and we are hopeful that we can strike a long-term deal that is fair to both Lamar and the Ravens. Our ultimate goal is to build a championship team with Lamar Jackson leading the way for many years to come."
Jackson could sign the franchise tag, which would be a one-year deal expected to be worth about $32.7 million.
John Harbaugh seemed confident in January when he predicted there was a "200% chance" Jackson would remain with the Ravens.
It is unclear what the hold up is. Reports indicated at the start of the 2022 season that Jackson was looking for a fully guaranteed deal in the range Deshaun Watson got with the Cleveland Browns.
Last March, he addressed the "false narrative" being thrown out there he was trying to leave Baltimore. He said he loved his Ravens.