Window Opens For Lamar Jackson Of Ravens To Contact Other Teams

Owings Mills, MD – The first link in Lamar Jackson’s social media bio is an email address for “business inquiries.” It’s been years, but at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, Jackson’s business inquiries will take an interesting turn.

Only then can the Baltimore Ravens quarterback begin talks with other teams. It’s unprecedented territory, as the 26-year-old Jackson is the first NFL MVP quarterback under the age of 30 to receive the non-exclusive franchise tag, which pays him $32.416 million a season and gives him a contract with the rest of the league. Allows you to engage in dialogue. , If he accepts an offer, the Ravens have five days to match it as compensation or receive two first-round picks.

The Ravens picked up the option on the exclusive tag set at $45 million, which prevented Jackson from talking to other teams and let Baltimore control the trade terms.

What makes the situation even more unique is that Jackson doesn’t have an agent. Instead, Jackson has leaned on a tight inner circle of family and advisers and the NFL Players Association.

It’s this dynamic that makes Jackson’s future difficult to predict. While other teams have been busy over the past two days reaching deals with free agent quarterbacks, or trading draft capital that would lead to selecting a quarterback, Jackson had to wait to find out his market value.

Some agents and former general managers believe that there is a lot to be said about Jackson not having an agent, and it may have even worked in his favor. But others believe the lack of representation will make an already complicated process even more complicated and could cause teams to hesitate.

“I was trying to put myself in the place of the GM who might be interested. What do I do now? Do I have to call Lamar myself?” said former NFL general manager Randy Mueller, who is now director of player personnel for the XFL’s Seattle Sea Dragons. “It’s certainly unorthodox. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but it certainly complicates things.”

Even though Jackson doesn’t have an agent, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have help.

An NFLPA source said, “We can provide him with the same kind of assistance that we provide to any certified agent.” “We can review a contract and look at it. We can tell him whether the deal looks good or whether it’s market value for a player like him.

“If they have any questions during the process, they can come to us and we can work them out with them.”

But the NFLPA has limits.

,[Teams] Can call his mom, who is handling a lot of these matters. Or they could even call him directly,” said an NFLPA source. We cannot speak directly to the teams and can negotiate directly on their behalf. We can’t go back and forth with the teams.”

Two agents, both of whom have negotiated NFL quarterback deals, believe Jackson is already a step backward. If Jackson had an agent, he said, his representative could have been his advocate at the NFL combine earlier this month and talked to teams about his interest in preparing his market.

An agent said, “He’s put himself out there so much that he can’t go back on his word.” “It takes tremendous humility to say, ‘I tried, it didn’t work out, I’m going to hire an agent now and get the best deal I can.'”

Jackson’s list of potential teams dwindled before he had a chance to make the call. The Carolina Panthers traded up to the No. 1 overall pick to draft the quarterback. The Miami Dolphins exercised their fifth-year option to exercise a vote of confidence in Tua Tagovailoa. The Las Vegas Raiders signed Jimmy Garoppolo to a three-year, $67.5 million deal.

Other teams, however, seem like potential suitors, such as the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, and Washington Commanders.

An agent suggested that Jackson should target a handful of teams and contact them immediately to see if they would be willing to give up two first-round picks for him. Then, work began on drafting a contract that the Ravens would be unwilling to match.

last September, A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen that Jackson turned down an offer from Baltimore that included $133 million guaranteed upon signing, $175 million guaranteed for injury and $200 million in total guarantees if he is on the roster on Day 5 of the 2026 league year. The $200 million would be second among all quarterbacks behind Deshaun Watson (five years, $230 million guaranteed) and Kyler Murray ($103.3 million guaranteed upon signing) and Russell Wilson ($124 million guaranteed upon signing) last year. ) will exceed the deals signed by Schefter and Mortensen reported in September that Jackson wanted a fully guaranteed deal similar to Watson’s.

jackson appears to contradict reports of $200 million in guarantees on social media on Tuesday.

“I think it’s possible for Lamar, but frankly, I don’t think it’s possible if he’s just waiting for the phone to ring,” said an agent.

Jackson is not the first high-profile NFL player to talk to teams without an agent. Over the past six years, Richard Sherman, DeAndre Hopkins, Bobby Wagner and Russell Okung have all had their representation in free agency.

Even Jackson’s teammate, middle linebacker Roquan Smith, negotiated a five-year, $100 million extension with the Ravens in January without an agent. Smith’s deal – which topped the average $20 million per year, signing bonus ($22.5 million) and total guarantees ($60 million) – expired in six days over the course of a month.

Smith said, “Everyone has their own opinion on how they think things should be run, but I don’t think anybody as a player knows what’s really in it.” “I think players nowadays want 100% transparency to be at the table. If you have respect for the person you’re talking to and you get help from your advisors, there’s nothing that can you could not.”

The difference between Jackson and those other players is Jackson is dealing with a franchise tag, which comes with the added constraints of draft compensation and Baltimore’s ability to match up. The tag came after the parties failed to reach a deal after 25 months of talks. Ravens officials have acknowledged that reaching and talking to Jackson has been difficult at times.

After Baltimore placed the franchise tag on Jackson on March 7, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta stated that he would continue to work towards a long-term deal with the quarterback.

“Our ultimate goal is to build a championship team with Lamar Jackson that will thrive for many years to come,” DiCosta said in a statement.

The threat of matching any offer from the Ravens could deter teams from pursuing Jackson. If Jackson signed an offer sheet and Baltimore matched it, the other team essentially negotiated the Ravens’ deal for him.

One agent said, “The genius of Baltimore was they put a low franchise tag on him and said, ‘Go find your market and come back to us. We’ll pay it. ‘”

If Jackson finds a team that is willing to give up two first-round picks for him, it will likely be up to Jackson and his inner circle to craft a contract that will be difficult for Baltimore to match. One agent suggested that a record signing bonus of $75 million might have to be included to capture Jackson from the Ravens.



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Jackson hasn’t spoken publicly about his contract status since the first week of the 2022 season, so it’s been difficult to gauge what the quarterback wants. It is unknown whether Jackson is looking to move due to his contract impasse with the Ravens or if he would be happy to return to Baltimore if he does not find a better offer elsewhere. A recent video on Jackson’s Instagram Story, showing him wearing a Ravens gold chain and his team’s hooded sweatshirt, sparked optimism among the fan base.

Joe Banner, who was an executive with the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns, is not among those criticizing Jackson for not having an agent.

“I think it’s being blown out of proportion a lot, and I really think it’s served him well so far,” said Banner, a contributor to the NFL news website “The 33rd Team.”

If Jackson had an agent, he could be encouraged to sign a deal when he is eligible for a contract extension in January 2021. Since Jackson has waited, the top average per year for quarterbacks has increased by $5 million ($45 million to $50 million). million), and four quarterbacks have signed deals, bringing the total guaranteed amount to over $150 million.

Mueller, who was the GM of the Saints and Dolphins, said he would be reluctant to deal a player who did not have an agent.

“It will definitely be on my mind, because it’s a long, hard, difficult road to get a deal done,” Mueller said. “I’ll do whatever the team and the players want, but it’s a lot of bridges you have to cross, usually you’re not going to be in a really busy time for the decision-makers.”

Since Jackson became the Ravens’ starting quarterback midway through the 2018 season, he has posted the second-best record (45-16, .738 winning percentage) among active quarterbacks behind Patrick Mahomes, and he has registered the third-best total QBR. (64.8).

But Jackson has failed to finish the last two seasons due to injuries, missing a total of 11 games in 2021 and 2022, including playoff losses in Cincinnati.

“Do you want the player? Are you confident he will stay healthy? Are you willing to agree to the terms he has preferred?” Banner said. “You should be able to say yes to all of those questions, as opposed to some of his questions — or you should find some other solution to your quarterback problem.”

ESPN Colts reporter Stephen Holder and Bears reporter Courtney Cronin contributed to this article.

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