Well, at least two people are confident that Lamar Jackson is staying in Baltimore. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said today that “Lamar Jackson is our quarterback,” and there is a “200 percent” chance he remains a Raven.
Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said he’s confident the two sides will get a deal done. DeCosta also noted that one way or another, “I truly believe Lamar wants to finish his career in Baltimore.”
One thing was pretty clear from Harbaugh and DeCosta’s press conference on the news of Greg Roman departing. Lamar Jackson isn’t going anywhere.
Alright, well, that solves that, right? Not so fast; there are a couple of things to unpack here.
First, negotiations will continue, and DeCosta believes that the Ravens can come to terms with Jackson on a long-term extension. To me, that would indicate that the Ravens are indeed willing to move in Jackson’s direction on the amount of money guaranteed. That was the deal-breaker this past fall when Jackson turned down their six-year offer.
Also, the Ravens have made it clear now — which we expected — that Jackson won’t become a free agent. Even if they don’t get an extension done, he’s getting franchise tagged.
This is a good time to discuss the two franchise tag options that the Ravens will have. When we refer to the tag, it’s often just as that. “the tag.” But there are two variations: the exclusive and non-exclusive franchise tag.
The most common type of franchise tag is the non-exclusive one, which means that NFL players can still negotiate with other teams following the application of the tag. Meanwhile, the exclusive franchise tag prevents players from negotiating with other teams.
In this Lamar’s case, the exclusive would run the Ravens roughly $45.2 million for the 2023 season. It would also allow them to 1) continue negotiating a long-term deal or 2) find a trade partner. Baltimore says he’s not going anywhere, but we know they wouldn’t say otherwise at this point outwardly.
The non-exclusive tag would allow Jackson to negotiate with other teams, and if he signed an offer sheet with another team, the Ravens would get two first-round picks as compensation.
So, while it sounds like the Ravens are hell-bent on keeping Jackson in Baltimore, there are still a few significant details to work out and hurdles to clear.
And, if the Ravens did decide to trade Jackson on the tag, we discussed some potential landing spots earlier this week: