How do you like to start your Monday mornings? For me, I work out at 6 a.m., get back home, have a cup of coffee, shower, get ready, and head to my office. You know, a regular morning to kick off the week. Well, Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson on the other hand decided to wake up on March 27 and stir up the world of professional football.
After posting a series of tweets early in the morning announcing, or well, in this case, reiterating his decision to request a trade from the Ravens, Jackson caused quite the commotion around the league. Keep in mind too, we’re talking about a player without an agent, so everything he says and all deals he makes, come from himself.
While Ravens fans fell into a rut, not wanting to start to think about their life after Jackson, supporters from other QB-needy teams in the league took to Twitter and other social media outlets by storm.
From pictures of Jackson donning different uniforms to memes and gifs depicting a relatively wide range of emotions after the NFL news hit, it was quite a shaky Monday morning for Ravens and football fanatics.
With the top NFL rumors sites speculating for weeks on the outcome of the Jackson and Baltimore contract issues, it’s time to talk about the real pressing issues here. Yes, Jackson wants to part ways with the Ravens, even if the team has none of that. So, what’s next? Where will Jackson play? And which team or teams would make the most sense for Baltimore’s QB?
All Roads to Jackson Go Through Baltimore
If Jackson were to leave Baltimore, he could, as long as it’s on vacation or for any other reason besides playing football for another team in the league. Why? Because if all teams in the league reach out to the Ravens to try and strike a deal for Jackson, Baltimore would still have the last word. It could be said that Baltimore knew this was bound to happen and decided that pinning Jackson with the non-exclusive franchise tag would be the best move.
In his thread of tweets, the passer said that the Ravens have not been interested in meeting his value. Strong words, especially on the day on which Baltimore coach John Harbaugh was scheduled to speak at the annual NFL Owners Meetings. If you ask Jackson, he wants out, and he wants a massive new contract to go along with his departure. If you ask Harbaugh, on the other hand, he loves Lamar and is confident that the player will be a Raven next season.
Whichever side you pick, just know that again, thanks to the Ravens slapping Jackson with the non-exclusive franchise tag, if anybody wants to shop him, they’ll have to come up with an offer strong enough that Baltimore won’t be able to match.
How Can Jackson’s New Contract Affect the QB Market?
Kirk Cousins and DeShaun Watson. Two names, and two contracts, both paving the way for negotiating QB deals in the league moving forward. When Cousins signed his $84 million, three-year contract with Minnesota, it became the first time in which a passer signed a fully-guaranteed deal in the league. A couple of years later it was Watson who signed his five-year, $230 million extension with Cleveland, in the same style.
How does this affect Jackson’s contract negotiations with Baltimore or any other team? Simple. Not only will the team interested in having the passer lead its offense have to fork over a significant amount of money, but that contract will also have to be fully guaranteed.
If Jackson is asking for at least $200 million guaranteed, he should get them. Especially when thinking about how his negotiations and finalized deal will affect how QBs like Joe Burrow, Trevor Lawrence, and Justin Herbert negotiate their deals next offseason once their rookie deals come to a close.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that these kinds of deals benefit players more than owners. But who, at the end of the day, is going through the perils of playing professional football, where injuries are a dime a dozen and stability can come and go in a whiff? Yes, players. So should they be able to have the chance to get paid in a way where they come out winning? Yes, they should.
Is Lamar A QB Worth the Risk?
It all depends on who you are talking to, and the kind of risk signing Jackson involves. Take the Colts for example. With the fourth pick in the NFL draft, the Colts know that unless a miracle happens, they won’t be able to select C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young, each predicted to go to the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans, respectively.
So where does that leave the Colts? Picking between Will Levis, Anthony Richardson, or, why not, snagging Jackson and offering him a new home in Indy. But, for them to do so, or in that case, any other team, as previously mentioned, all roads to Jackson go through Baltimore.
Is the passer worth the kind of money he’s asking for? I don’t see why not; worst deals have been made in the league for much worst passers. He is a former MVP. The guy has the tools but when dealing with the Ravens, money won’t do anything, given that Baltimore has the chance to match any offer presented. Then what’s next? Draft picks, starting with that juicy fourth in this year’s draft.
Let’s play Ravens GM for a second. Is the fourth pick in this year’s draft and a first-rounder in 2024 enough? We could draft Richardson, groom him, and possibly have him become a newer version of Jackson. But why stop at just that one pick?
If I’m letting my star player leave, I want a bounty and then some. Give me a couple of premiere picks for this year and next at least, and throw in an impactful player if necessary. If not, I’ll just keep him, be it that he plays or not, that decision will be up to Jackson.
So if not the Colts, who could make an offer enticing enough to lure Jackson away from Baltimore, while keeping the Ravens happy as well? There’s always New England, especially with Mac Jones not evolving into his role as the team’s franchise passer fast enough.
What about the Falcons? It might be just me and a slew of Falcons fans envisioning this, but tell me that Jackson leading Atlanta’s offense wouldn’t feel exactly like a new version of Michael Vick’s era down South.
As of right now, all signs still point towards Jackson staying with the Ravens, either playing or sitting out the season in protest. At the end of the day though, you can never blame a man for fighting for his own.
Today, Jackson proved that while having an agent is an asset, nothing beats a good old rattling of the cages to get birds scared out of their minds.