Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens are stuck in a stalemate two years in the making.
The organization placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on the star quarterback ahead of Tuesday’s tag deadline. The non-exclusive tag puts Jackson on the books for $32.4 million next season while giving him the chance to negotiate long-term deals with other teams. Should Jackson get an offer from another franchise, the Ravens will have the chance to match or receive two first-round picks as compensation.
So who will be doing the negotiating? Right now, only Jackson.
The 26-year-old has never had an agent since being drafted by the Ravens in 2018. He has been in Baltimore ever since, but they have yet to come to a long-term agreement.
Jackson has the chance to explore options outside of Baltimore thanks to the non-exclusive tag, but ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio believes other teams could steer clear of the 2019 NFL MVP because he doesn’t have an agent.
“We don’t want that with our quarterback. We want our quarterback to be fully on board and malleable and easy for us to work with when we need to work with him,” Florio said on “PFT Live” Wednesday when offering possible perspectives from other teams. “To extend his contract, to adjust his contract, to redo his contract. And we don’t want to deal with what the Ravens have been dealing with so obviously for the past two years. We don’t want that.
“It’s a legitimate reason to not want to do business with Lamar Jackson.”
Jackson reportedly turned down a six-year, $250 million offer from the Ravens ahead of the 2022 NFL season, a deal that would have made him the seventh-highest-paid QB in the NFL based on annual salary. He wound up playing on the fifth-year option the Ravens picked up before he missed the final five regular season games and wild card loss with a PCL injury.
Once news of his tag broke on Tuesday, reports began flooding in saying various teams were out on the Jackson sweepstakes. In Florio’s eyes, the disinterest goes beyond getting Jackson in the building with an initial contract.
“After you’ve signed him, you still have to coexist with him,” Florio said. “And you don’t have an agent you can call when you have something that needs to be done with Lamar Jackson.”
As Jackson approaches the next phase of his NFL career, Florio believes it is essential that the QB hires someone to guide him through the negotiating process.
“Lamar, you need to hire an agent. Now,” Florio said. “Hire an agent now to shepherd you through this process, to aggressively contact all the teams, to try to get someone to come up with an offer sheet that maybe the Ravens couldn’t or wouldn’t match.”