The storyline of the offseason may have just revealed itself as the Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive tag on QB Lamar Jackson. Had the Ravens placed the exclusive tag on the former MVP, the discussions would have been simpler and easier. Likely, the exclusive tag would have had Jackson back in Baltimore for 2023.
Now, everything is possible for the quarterback and the tides of the AFC North could depend on what happens next.
A real quick primer on the difference between the two tags:
- Exclusive: Costs over $10 million more, no teams could negotiate with Jackson
- Non-exclusive: Cheaper but other teams can negotiate and agree to a deal. Ravens then either match that offer or let Jackson go and get first-round picks in 2023 and 2024 in return
For the Cleveland Browns and the rest of the division, what happens with Jackson will be intriguing. Baltimore is 45-16 when he starts games. Jackson is 6-1 versus the Cincinnati Bengals, 1-2 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers and 6-2 versus the Browns.
An electric player with the ball in his hands, Jackson is great at running the ball and has shown good development as a passer despite a run-first offense. The Ravens moved on from Greg Roman to bring in Todd Monken to bring in a more pass-friendly system.
Through reporters, a number of teams have already stated they are not interested in Jackson. Those reports have drawn the interest of many who think the quick response is interesting:
Why are all of these teams so publicly “out” on Lamar Jackson, an MVP winner in his prime at the most important position in the entire NFL?— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) March 7, 2023
What am I missing here?
Last year, multiple teams, including four finalists, were interested in trading a significant amount of draft capital and paying Deshaun Watson a huge contract. Many of those same teams still need a quarterback this year but have already stated they are not interested including the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins.
The guaranteed money given to Watson by Cleveland is assumed to be part of the problem for NFL owners. Teams want to keep that contract as an outlier instead of the first of many.
With the loaded group of quarterbacks in the AFC, Browns fans should be hoping for Jackson to find a big contract from an NFC team. Even if Baltimore matches, it could create some chaos for the Ravens depending on how the deal is structured.
For now, the future of Jackson and Baltimore is up in the air and will be something vital to watch for Cleveland and the rest of the AFC.