The Baltimore Ravens have made their move in the chess match to secure Lamar Jackson to a long-term deal. The Ravens have used the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, giving him and other potential suitors the opportunity to negotiate a contract. Keep in mind, the Ravens are afforded the chance to match any offer Lamar may be given. If by some reason they can’t, then they can deal the quarterback for two first-round picks.
With the official start of free agency, you would think that there’d be suitors reportedly stepping up to make contact with the man. Especially QB needy teams like the Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, Las Vegas Raiders, Washington Commanders, etc. Right?
So far, it’s been the exact opposite. Teams have been announcing that they are taking themselves OUT of the Lamar Jackson sweepstakes. Of the QB needy teams, the following so far have taken themselves out of the running to pursue Jackson:
Falcons, Commanders, Panthers, Raiders, and Miami Dolphins.
Miami remains committed to Tua Tagovailoa. Head coach Mike McDaniel reportedly believes that Tua fits his system perfectly. All four team were listed on Bill Barnwell’s NFL ranking list in terms of fit, in addition to teams such as the Packers, Lions, Buccaneers, Jets, Bears, Titans, and Texans. The most shocking of these five teams pulling out, has to be the Falcons.
They were all in on trying to sign Deshaun Watson last off-season, completely ready to give him the bag before the man got swiped away by the Cleveland Browns. Falcons have over $60 million in cap space to work with, which more than any other team in the NFC South at this time. Barnwell had the Falcons ranked #1 on his board as the time that’d best suit him, and I can see his point. Falcons put together one of the better run-first teams in the league in 2022, spearheaded by running back Tyler Allgeier.
Here is what the ESPN writer had to say about the Falcons:
“I love the fit. Smith featured Mariota’s ability to run in the offense a year ago, with Mariota averaging seven carries and 34 rushing yards per contest. It wouldn’t be a stretch to insert Jackson into an expanded version of that role. From Week 9 on, Tyler Allgeier averaged 5.6 yards per carry and 79 rushing yards per game, and he would give Jackson some help in the backfield.”
You can’t be successful in today’s league without a franchise quarterback, and Lamar would instantly change the complexion and culture of a struggling franchise. So why on earth are we seeing teams that would greatly benefit from his service pulling out one after the other?
It’s possible that the league’s owners might be colluding with each other. Just doesn’t make much sense otherwise.
NFLPA will more than likely have questions about what's happening. Multiple teams pursued Deshaun Watson (and his situation) last offseason and the compensation to get him was more (three 1s vs. two 1s here).
Again: It costs nothing to talk to him. Find out what he even wants. https://t.co/3WxRM70thq
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) March 7, 2023
Why are all of these teams so publicly “out” on Lamar Jackson, an MVP winner in his prime at the most important position in the entire NFL?
What am I missing here?
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) March 7, 2023