PHOTO: BRYAN WOOLSTON/GETTY
Earlier this offseason, one of the most controversial news that broke out in what has been a hectic offseason in the NFL thus far is that the Baltimore Ravens decided to place their superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson on the nonexclusive franchise tag that will pay him $32 million for the 2023 season. This move means that Jackson will be free to engage with other teams around the league in pursuit of his services and the Ravens will have the right to match any offer to keep him or take two first-round picks as compensation.
What has been concerning is how disrespected it seems the former MVP, a unanimous MVP while at it, doesn’t seem to be a hot commodity for teams around the NFL that need a quarterback! Some of the teams that could desperately use Jackson’s star power are the Carolina Panthers, Washington Commanders, Atlanta Falcons, and Las Vegas Raiders, to name a few that have spurned him.
It’s a travesty what is going on with Jackson because we’re speaking of one of two players in NFL history to be named unanimous MVP back in 2019, with the only player to achieve such a feat being the GOAT(Greatest Of All Time) Tom Brady himself in 2010.
Jackson has been doing the contract negotiations himself as he is not represented or affiliated with any agent. It was reported last year that Jackson was looking for a guaranteed deal in a similar price range to his other contemporaries around the league, such as Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray who both received massive deals of guaranteed money with $160 million for Murray and a whopping $230 million for Watson.
Jackson’s nonexclusive tag marks just the first time in seven years that it has been used since the Minnesota Vikings did it with quarterback Kirk Cousins in 2016.
The Ravens' star quarterback also becomes just the third player to win NFL MVP and then receive the franchise tag, joining Steve Young (1993) and Peyton Manning (2004 and 2011), according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Young and Manning reached long-term deals and didn't play the full season under the tag.
With Jackson under the tag, the Ravens have until July 17 to work out a long-term deal with the tantalizing quarterback. If a new deal isn’t reached by then, Jackson will not be able to sign with the team until the conclusion of the 2023-24 season.
Many questions remain, and the future is uncertain between both parties, but for someone who’s produced 5,000 passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards in the first three seasons of his career while also winning an MVP in the process is downright a travesty that he has yet to get a max contract up to his standards considering he’s accomplished more and has completely put the Ravens’ franchise on his back the last few seasons and is the marquee athlete in the area.
It’ll be interesting to see how the dominos play out, but one thing is certain: the Lamar Jackson disrespect needs to come to an end.