The Baltimore Ravens were facing a difficult situation — do they pay quarterback Lamar Jackson an amount of money he may not be worth, or do they let him walk and begin a rebuilding process?
On Tuesday, they found a stopgap solution by affixing their non-exclusive franchise tag on him.
It will pay Jackson as much as $32 million next season, but it will allow him to negotiate freely with any team, including the Ravens.
NFL analyst Nick Wright feels this is the beginning of the end of Jackson’s time in Baltimore.
"The Ravens-Lamar relationship is over. You can't ask Lamar Jackson, who up to this moment has made less money in the NFL than Taysom Hill, to play for the Daniel Jones contract. I don't think he's signing this."
— @getnickwright reacts to BAL giving Lamar the non-exclusive tag: pic.twitter.com/OfDpE9P7kb
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) March 7, 2023
For many months, Jackson has been demanding a contract extension in the area of about $50 million a year, and he reportedly wants a fully guaranteed deal.
It is understandable why the Ravens have been reluctant to cave into his demands.
While Jackson is an exciting QB and perhaps the best at his position when it comes to moving the chains with his legs, he’s thought to be fair-to-middling when it comes to throwing the football.
There is also the concern about his durability, which is a general concern that many have about dual-threat signal-callers such as him.
He missed the last five games of the 2022 season, as well as Baltimore’s wild-card playoff contest, with a sprained PCL, and an ankle injury forced him to sit for five games in the 2021 campaign.
The market value of quarterbacks has jumped in the past year thanks to huge deals handed out to Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and now Derek Carr and Daniel Jones, which, at least in theory, gives Jackson some leverage in negotiations.NEXT: NFL Fans React To Today's Lamar Jackson News