Taking a look at the options for Lamar Jackson, Ravens in 2023 and beyond

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If, as it appears, the Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson won’t be working out a new contract before the end of the 2022 season, what happens next?

Here’s a look at the various options and deadlines that will apply in 2023, if the two sides do indeed get through the season without a new contract.

First, the Ravens and Jackson will have an opportunity to negotiate a long-term deal through the deadline for application of the franchise tag, on March 7 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Second, absent a deal, the Ravens will have to decide by March 7 at 4:00 p.m. ET whether to apply the franchise tag and, perhaps more importantly, whether to apply the non-exclusive or exclusive version of it.

The non-exclusive tag for 2023 will likely be in the range of $32 million. That approach would allow another team to sign Jackson to an offer sheet. The Ravens would have five days to match. If they don’t, they would get two first-round draft picks as compensation.

The exclusive tag would keep Jackson from talking to other teams. But it would be expensive — the average of the five highest quarterback cap numbers as of April 21. Subject to new deals and renegotiations, that number likely will be in the range of $46 million for 2023.

The Ravens also could apply the transition tag, which would entail a lower salary than the franchise tag for 2023 (roughly $29 million or so) and only a right to match with no compensation.

After a tag is applied, the Ravens and Jackson would have until July 15 at 4:00 p.m. ET to finalize a multi-year deal. After that, they’d have to wait until the conclusion of the 2023 regular season to sign a long-term deal.

In 2024, Jackson would get a 20-percent raise over his 2023 compensation, if he’s tagged again. For a non-exclusive tag of roughly $32 million, that’s $38.4 million. For an exclusive tag of $46 million, it would be $55.2 million. Again, a July 15 deadline would apply for a long-term deal.

In 2025, Jackson likely would become a free agent, since the franchise tag would entail a 44-percent bump over 2024. That’s $55 million under the non-exclusive tag and nearly $80 million under the exclusive tag. They also could use the transition tag in 2025, at a 20-percent increase over his 2024 salary.

Jackson could choose to play on a year-by-year basis. That would put him at (with the non-exclusive tag) $93.4 million over three years. With the exclusive tag, the three-year payout would be $124.2 million.

Baltimore’s offer would need to be compared to the year-to-year amounts. Assuming the Ravens don’t want to risk losing him, Door No. 1 means $124.2 million over the next three years.

To get that, of course, Jackson will have to stay healthy and continue to play at a high level. The Ravens could walk away at any time, if they want.

Jackson isn’t required to go along, of course. He could request a trade. He could hold out. He could finagle a situation in which other teams line up to trade for him and to pay him, like Deshaun Watson did.

Regardless, at some point he’ll have to negotiate a long-term deal, with someone. Unless, of course, he suffers the kind of injury that causes no one to want to pay him a market-level contract.

That’s the biggest risk he’s taking by not doing a long-term deal now. Given the way he plays the position, it’s a risk that needs to be taken seriously.

8 responses to “Taking a look at the options for Lamar Jackson, Ravens in 2023 and beyond

  1. Trade him. He is not worth the ultra-contract. And you can find the same level talent as current backup’s on plenty of teams.

  2. If they go non-exclusive thinking a team would match a 32 mil in 2023, IMO, no team would be dumb enough to not only overpay for Lamar Jackson’s long term deal, while giving up 2 1st rd picks in the process.

    It’s always possible there is a really dumb team like the Jets out there, but a lot of teams do have their franchise QBs, too. And, Baltimore would likely want an NFC trading partner anyway. So, how many really dumb/desperate teams are tere in the NFC right now heading into 2023?

    The Giants could be a team. Maybe the Redskins? Seattle is certainly a possibility if they want to continue being dumb, because they have picks in the Wilson deal.

    At that stage, you’d use ONE 1st rd pick to trade up into the top 15 for a QB you like in the draft and not pay TWO 1st rd picks. That’s too high of a price for Jackson based on his leverage for the $$ he thinks he should get moving forward. This is all about how he projects in the future, not that he won a lucky MVP by Baltimore running a bunch of NCAA crap that eventually fades.

    If teams were smart and got to a tag level at the non-exclusive tag, that’s what SHOULD happens.

    The QB has less value as they age and especially a run basew

    In a nutshell, there’s a reason why Cleveland never gave Mayfield a deal and there’s a reason why Baltimore is hesitant to hand over Jackson 43 mil per like Josh Allen or what Mahomes gets.

    If Baltimore was smart, which I am not so sure they are even though they THINK they are, they’d tag him exclusively with the idea they have a trading partner in the NFC. Take a 2nd and 4th rd pick and move on. Do it quietly. They’ve already blown the chance to do it, but their last chance would be with a tag and trade.

    There’s a reason why this guy sucks in the postseason and it’s because they run out of plays that everyone has seen so many times by that time of the year. He’s peaked.

  3. I am sure Jackson thinks he’s just as valuable as Watson based on his better results. The problem for Jackson is that he may not be using the same valuation model as the Ravens.

    No one was competing with the Browns when the contract was signed. Watson is unicorn to the Browns: worth any price and they pulled the trigger. A market exists when more than two bidders are willing to compete to buy something. One way to determine the true value of something is to set the price at the second best bid. That was the last time a true market existed.

    The other thing Jackson may be ignoring is value of alternatives. Hundley looks ENTIRELY capable of operating the team with only a slight drop off in performance. That drags down the value the Ravens are willing to assign Jackson. I see Jackson leaving after the end of the season as Hundley is a MUCH CHEAPER alternative.

  4. So…23 million this season (the Final Year of his Rookie deal). 46 million on the exclusive franchise tag in 2023 and 55.2 million in 2024 on the exclusive franchise tag in 2024. NO ONE believes the Raven would pay a third exclusive tag in 2025 of 8 million.

    124.2 million is good money and then to reach free agency and see what is out there. Keep that policy versus injury. Sounds good!

    Maybe by then Miami, Tampa or New Orleans will be ready to pony up a fully guaranteed contract. It only takes ONE owner (as Jimmy Haslem in the case of Deshaun Watson) to believe in you. As for the exclusive franchise tag and the second tag with the 20% escalator…let’s not forget that assumes that Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow do not sign extensions before April 2023 that would increase the average of the top five quarterback salaries. The more time goes by…the more money the Ravens will have to pay Lamar…IF they plan to keep him. I am not sure they do.

  5. 12brichandfamous says:
    September 9, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    “No one was competing with the Browns when the contract was signed.”

    The Saints, Falcons and Panthers WERE competing with the Browns and the Browns were the first team Watson eliminated from consideration…followed by the Panthers. IF Baker Mayfield does not DEMAND a trade the evening of the same day Deshaun said ‘Thanks but no thanks’ then there IS no 230 million dollar guaranteed contract to compare to. But…HE DID and the Browns DID so here we are. Revisionist history much?

    “Hundley looks ENTIRELY capable of operating the team with only a slight drop off in performance.”

    Sure… What was the Ravens record when Lamar became injured. How many games did they win with Huntley? If the Ravens want to move on from Lamar then they damned well should. No tears will be shed. The BEST thing that could happen for Lamar is that the Ravens do NOT slap the exclusive franchise tag on him. IF they would just slap the non-exclusive tag allowing him to negotiate with other teams then I am sure that Tampa and New Orleans would pay two number ones to get him AND we would find out if Miami TRULY loves Tua now as well…not to mention every other team which does not have a franchise quarterback considering how small a price two first round picks are for a quarterback of Lamar’s caliber. The Ravens have NO leverage. Pay the money or not. Lamar will get his money from them…OR someone else.

  6. IF the Ravens want to keep Lamar, they will need to do the exclusive tag. There will be 10 teams, easy, that will blow away the $29 million (and likely the $45 too)

  7. Jackson is out of the league in 4 yrs: speed is reduced, STILL can’t read defenses, and Ravens have no playoff success to show for the next 3 yrs he plays in Baltimore.

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