The Baltimore Ravens just had another disappointing season which ended after being eliminated by the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. For a second consecutive year, franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson missed the most important stretch of the calendar because of injuries.
So, the Ravens are on a major crossroad. Even though Lamar Jackson has been injury-prone, the offense is not the same without him. That’s why the quarterback wants to be paid accordingly with his contract about to expire. In this scenario, there are many but complicated options for Baltimore’s front office.
Now, the Baltimore Ravens are on the clock. They could give Lamar Jackson all the money he wants, they could put the franchise tag on him or, in an incredible turn of events, trade him to another team. Read here to check out if they’re ready to exchange him for a massive number of draft picks.
Is Lamar Jackson under contract for 2023?
Next Tuesday, the Baltimore Ravens have to agree on a contract extension for Lamar Jackson in order to avoid other complicated scenarios. In this case, it’s important to remember that the 26-year old quarterback wants at least the guaranteed money got by Deshaun Watson with the Cleveland Browns.
Even after being suspended for twelve games, Watson signed a five-year deal with $230 million fully guaranteed. That’s gonna be the standard regardless the injury problems of Lamar Jackson. Obviously, the Baltimore Ravens are hesitating to pay that amount of money for a player missing so many crucial games.
That’s why, at the NFL Combine, Eric DeCosta was asked about a possible trade for Lamar Jackson. The general manager had a final answer. “I covet great players. I covet quarterbacks and I love Lamar. So, that has not factored in one time with me (a possible trade). We want to do what’s best for the club. We try to do what we can for Lamar. We want to make everybody happy.”
However, the Baltmore Ravens just have a few days to convince Lamar Jackson. Otherwise, the next option seems to be clear. Franchise tag. There are two options in this situation. The Ravens could go with an exclusive tag to avoid any other teams negotiating with Lamar Jackson. In that case, they would have to give him the average salary of the top-five highest-paid players at the quarterback position. $45 million. The exclusive franchise tag leaves the Ravens with no cap space to sign other players.
Another option is a non-exclusive tag ($32 million), but, in that case, Lamar Jackson could go and negotiate with other teams. Then, the Ravens would keep the right to match that offer or get in return two first-round draft picks as compensation. Nevertheless, that could set the bar really high for Baltimore. Of course, if there doesn’t seem to be a future for both parts, the truth is that a trade could be in play. Again, Eric DeCosta spoke loud and clear.
“Both parts understand the urgency of the situation. You can’t win in this league without a strong quarterback. I mean, that’s been proven. So, we want Lamar here. We think he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s certainly one of our best players and we want him back. We understand that living in a world without a quarterback is a bad world to live in.”