Ahead of the franchise tag deadline, the Baltimore Ravens have placed the rarely used non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson. The tag carries a $32.41 million salary for just one season, but there is an added element to it that isn’t seen very often.
With the exclusive franchise tag, a player essentially has two options: play for the team that tagged them, or sit out if they don’t reach a long-term deal by the July deadline. We saw this last off-season with Bengals safety Jessie Bates III.
With the non-exclusive tag, Jackson will essentially control his destiny. Jackson is permitted to negotiate with other teams and sign an offer sheet with them when the new NFL league year starts on March 15th.
Baltimore will have the option to match any deal another team makes with Jackson. If they choose not to, Jackson would go to the team that signed him and that team would send two first-round draft picks to Baltimore.
This tag also gives Jackson even more leverage, because Jackson cannot be traded for more than the tag would send to Baltimore unless he were to sign the tender first. Safe to say this move increased the likelihood that Jackson ultimately changes teams this offseason.
With over a year of failed negotiations with their star quarterback, low rankings for their strength coaches, and players calling out coaches and front-office personnel on Twitter, it’s also safe to say it hasn’t been a great start to the offseason in Baltimore.