Latest On Ravens, Lamar Jackson

Free agency took over the NFL landscape this week, but one of the key storylines surrounding the league remains the future of Lamar Jackson. Contract talks between the Ravens and the former MVP have brought the parties to a standoff, leading to the use of the non-exclusive franchise tag.

Going down this route opens up the possibility of another team signing Jackson for an offer sheet, which could not happen until tomorrow at the earliest. During the league’s 48-hour legal tampering period, teams are allowed to do business with a player’s agents, but not the player himself. Given that Jackson quite remarkably went through the entire process of transacting his next deal without an agent, he is not authorized to speaking to teams other than the Ravens, who insist their goal remains a long-term deal.

Speaking of which, it looks unlikely that Jackson will suddenly hire an agent. Those in league circles say ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio is unlikely to see the QB suddenly change his mind and hire a representative. These sources believe Jackson is unlikely to admit his mistake even if hiring an agent is best for his career.

A number of teams have reportedly pulled out of a possible pursuit of the 26-year-old, who has long been believed to be seeking a fully guaranteed deal similar to those signed Deshaun Watson last offseason after the Browns traded for him. Baltimore’s hesitation to meet or exceed those terms (five years, $230 million) has left the two sides in their current predicament.

Potential suitors are wary of offering Jackson a contract because they would certainly be in limbo while the Ravens determine how to proceed, according to Rapoport (on Twitter). Ultimately, it sounds like these teams believe the QB will end up back in Baltimore, and these potential suitors have no interest in conducting Baltimore’s negotiations for them. ESPN’s Dan Graziano writes that the teams would rather discuss a potential trade with the Ravens after the franchise tag is settled, although that path would still require those suitors to eventually speak to Jackson.

Jackson recently gave us a peek behind the curtain and revealed Twitter that the Ravens have offered him a three-year, $133 million contract that is fully guaranteed. As pointed out by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), Jackson preferred the franchise tag to that offer, and the reporter adds that the Ravens tried a number of contract lengths in an attempt to get Jackson to bite.

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