Lamar Jackson won’t show up for start of offseason workouts, as expected
When it comes to unsigned franchise-tagged players, it should surprise no one when they choose not to show up for the start of offseason workouts. Beyond the fact that the workouts are voluntary, unsigned franchise-tagged players are (wait for it) unsigned.
They’re not under contract. They’re no more employed by their team than anyone else who isn’t under contract with the team.
So, yes, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is expected to stay away. He’ll most likely stay away until he signs.
There’s a common misconception regarding unsigned franchise-tagged players. While they routinely don’t show up, they’re not prevented from doing so. With a simple letter of protection, which would guarantee their franchise pay in the event of a serious injury, they can show up.
And there’s an argument to be made for being there. Most players are going to work out, somewhere. Working out away from the workplace runs the risk of an injury that would result in the franchise-tag money going away for good. If that injury happens in the building, the player is covered.
Then there’s the Kirk Cousins approach. To the extent Jackson is currently simulating the Cousins experience (two years of franchise tag and then free agency), Jackson should consider doing what Cousins did -- accept the tender and show up.
Jackson will want to have a good season, obviously. Beyond the fact that he’ll want to keep himself highly attractive to the Ravens and other teams, he’ll want to avoid the parade of “I told you so’s” that inevitably will line up if Jackson struggles in 2023, if he exercises his prerogative to skip the offseason program, training camp, and the preseason.
The best approach, frankly, would be for the Ravens and Jackson (perhaps with OBJ as the go-between) to sweeten his $32.4 million franchise tender and get him in the door for 2023. It’s in his best interests to have a big year. It’s in the team’s best interests for him to have a big year.
Getting him there for the offseason program would enhance the likelihood that this will happen.