clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lamar Jackson’s time with Ravens could be up, Browns part of the issue

Tag and trade scenario brewing

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The AFC North has gone through some huge changes at the quarterback position over the last few years. Joe Burrow joined the Cincinnati Bengals through the NFL draft, Ben Roethlisberger retired and Kenny Pickett was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Deshaun Watson was traded for and Baker Mayfield was traded away by the Cleveland Browns.

Only Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have been stable for the last five seasons but that could also be coming to a head. Jackson is set for free agency this offseason. The Ravens have four basic options:

  • Let him become an unrestricted free agent (highly unlikely)
  • Place the transition tag on the QB (makes very little sense)
  • Place the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson
  • Place the exclusive franchise tag on him

The last two are the most likely decisions for Baltimore. The exclusive tag would mean that other teams couldn’t negotiate or sign Jackson to any kind of contract while the non-exclusive tag allows both of those things. If another team, say the Atlanta Falcons, were allowed to negotiate a huge deal, the Ravens could match that deal or receive two first-round picks.

Baltimore could place the exclusive tag on Jackson with the intention of trading him for more than two first-round picks in a more complicated process.

According to a report from NFL Network, Watson’s contract with the Browns is one of the reasons that Jackson could be elsewhere next year:

But Jackson’s desire for more fully guaranteed money — in line with Deshaun Watson’s five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract with the Browns — has kept the sides from striking a deal, despite Baltimore making multiple offers near the top of the QB market in key metrics.

The Ravens don’t currently have an offensive coordinator in place after moving on from Greg Roman.

GM Eric DeCosta noted that finding a top-flight receiver for Jackson is tough when a quarterback is getting paid a ton:

“Honestly, when you have a big-ticket item at quarterback, it makes it more challenging – not impossible,” DeCosta said at last month’s end-of-season news conference. “We’ll have to get creative, and there are things we can do.

While a highly-paid quarterback does make team building more difficult, many teams have made it work. In fact, Baltimore has rarely spent resources on the receiver position. That, along with wanting a contract similar to Watson’s, could lead to another change at quarterback in the AFC North.