Ravens Place Franchise Tag On QB Lamar Jackson

Tag, you’re it. The Baltimore Ravens have used the franchise tag on QB Lamar Jackson just ahead of today’s deadline after failing to negotiate a long-term deal with him.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’s the non-exclusive franchise tag, meaning other teams can submit offer sheets that Jackson could sign. The non-exclusive tag is worth $32.41 million, considerably cheaper than the exclusive tag.

Using the tag on Jackson has widely been the expected move in recent weeks with it only being a matter of what type of tag the team was going to put on him. The two sides have been unable to come to an agreement on a long-term deal. Reportedly, Jackson seeks a fully guaranteed deal worth more than the $230 million Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Deshaun Watson received last offseason. The Ravens were aiming for a more conventional type of quarterback deal that didn’t come with such guarantees.

Baltimore officially confirmed the use of the tag.

As Schefter’s tweet notes, teams can now offer Jackson a contract. If they do and Jackson signs it, the Ravens will either have the choice to match the contract or to let Jackson go and play for that team. In return, Baltimore would receive two first round picks, one in 2023 and one in 2024. Only teams who have such picks are eligible to submit offer sheets. Jackson doesn’t have an official agent but the NFLPA is reportedly providing counsel.

Jackson, a former MVP winner, remains one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in football. But he’s also been among the most often injured. He’s missed the end of the year each of the past two seasons, sitting out the team’s final five regular season games in 2022 and the Ravens’ Wild Card loss due to a PCL injury. Initially, the injury was expected to cause Jackson to only miss a couple of weeks but his recovery was slow and Jackson never regained trust in his knee. Some speculated a lack of a contract was one reason why he didn’t attempt to return to play and the relationship between both sides seemed strained with Jackson not traveling to any game with the team following the Ravens’ Week 14 win against the Steelers.

Jackson ended 2022 throwing 17 touchdowns with seven interceptions while rushing for 764 yards and three additional scores.

Despite the tag, the Ravens will likely continue to try and work out a long-term deal with Jackson. They’ll have until the summer to hammer something out. But it remains to be seen if he’ll be the team’s starting quarterback in 2023. It’s been a bumpy road for Baltimore in recent weeks, earning serious criticism in the team’s report card over their strength and conditoning staff while WR Rashod Bateman called out GM Eric DeCosta for not doing enough to support the team, including Jackson. The fact the team used the non-exclusive tag opens up the possibility he’ll go elsewhere next year. The Atlanta Falcons have rumored to be in the mix for him. Though as an update, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reports the Falcons will not be pursuing him.

Notable other players to be tagged include Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard and Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs.

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