The Baltimore Ravens were unsuccessful in their attempt to sign quarterback Lamar Jackson to a long-term extension, which led to placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on him.
Jackson’s price tag is now $32.41 million for next season. However, being that the tag is non-exclusive, other teams are allowed to talk with Jackson about a possible contract.
The Ravens own the right to match any offer sheet that Jackson signs, or two first-round picks in return.
“Having not yet reached a long-term deal with Lamar Jackson, we will use the franchise tag,” general manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement. “There have been many instances across the league and in Baltimore when a player has been designated with the franchise tag and signed a long-term deal that same year. We will continue to negotiate in good faith with Lamar, and we are hopeful that we can strike a long-term deal that is fair to both Lamar and the Ravens. Our ultimate goal is to build a championship team with Lamar Jackson leading the way for many years to come.”
DeCosta spoke at the NFL Scouting Combine about Jackson’s contract situation, and he reiterated what the team has been saying: They want him locked in long-term.
“You can’t win in this league without a strong quarterback. That’s been proven. So, we want Lamar here,” DeCosta said.
Head coach John Harbaugh has also been gushing over Jackson’s abilities on the field, calling him “my quarterback.”
“I love him,” Harbaugh said recently. “As a coach, I’m looking forward to seeing it get done. But it’s not easy. It’s never easy. It’s the business part of it. But I’m really hopeful and excited.”
It’s not going to be easy now that the Ravens granted any other team wishing to sign Jackson the opportunity to offer him a contract. Though the Ravens do have the ability to match the offer sheet, they are currently $9.1 million over the cap for this upcoming season, meaning DeCosta and the front office needs to get under that value before the season begins.
The Atlanta Falcons, despite an excess of $66 million in cap room, will not be pursuing Jackson, per ESPN.
Baltimore had the option to use the exclusive franchise tag, which doesn’t allow other teams to offer players, but it would’ve been roughly $46 million for this season.
The Ravens will have until July 15 to work out a long-term extension with Jackson, or the $32.41 million will be locked as his salary for 2023.
Jackson won MVP in just his second NFL season after throwing 36 touchdowns with 3,127 yards and rushing for 1,206 yards with seven touchdowns in 15 games. Injuries have kept Jackson out for a few games these past two seasons, but Baltimore has managed to make the playoffs four of the five seasons Jackson has been in place as the team’s starting quarterback.