The Ravens reportedly intend to negotiate with quarterback Lamar Jackson up until the deadline for applying the franchise tag. At this point, Lamar Jackson should politely decline.
The chess match has developed to a key juncture. Jackson has the Ravens in check. They’ll have to make a big move on Tuesday.
They’ll apply either the non-exclusive franchise tag, or the exclusive version of the tag. Jackson should wait to see what they do.
Non-exclusive means he’d get to negotiate with other teams. He could sign an offer sheet with another team. The Ravens could match it, or they could decline to do so. Along the way, he could be traded.
Exclusive means he’d be the sole contractual property of the Ravens. But he’d have a one-year, $45 million contract, instead of the much lower amount for the non-exclusive tender ($32.416 million). He could still be traded, but the higher tender would give him much more leverage in long-term talks.
At this point, it’s Baltimore’s move. Why not see what the Ravens do? As explained over the weekend, it also helps Jackson to have the tag applied now. It sets the stage for the pricier second tag or the ultra-expensive third tag.
So at this point Jackson has to only do the one thing that most of us can do pretty well — nothing at all. By 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the Ravens will surely do something.