Lamar Jackson Rumors: Teams Don't Think Ravens QB Will Receive Contract Offer Sheet

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMarch 10, 2023

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) during an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman

Multiple NFL teams reportedly believe it is "possible" no team will sign quarterback Lamar Jackson to an offer sheet after the Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on him last week.

Appearing Friday on SportsCenter, ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler said there are multiple factors that could prevent teams from making a run at Jackson, including the idea that they would be doing all the work in negotiations only for the Ravens to match the offer and retain him.

It was also noted that any offer sheet would likely include $200 million or more in guaranteed money, plus any team that signs Jackson would have to send two first-round picks to the Ravens if they decline to match.

Even if a team ultimately decides to sign Jackson to an offer sheet, Fowler noted that it could be a "long slog," with teams potentially waiting until after free agency or even after the 2023 NFL draft before making a formal offer.

Jackson and the Ravens have been working on a long-term deal since last offseason, but they have yet to reach an agreement, leading to the decision to franchise tag him.

If Jackson doesn't sign an offer sheet and doesn't sign a long-term contract with the Ravens, he will be in line to play under the tag in 2023 at a salary of $32.4 million, which would make him only the 13th-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL annually, per Spotrac.

While there are some risks that come along with signing Jackson to a long-term deal, his production over the course of five NFL seasons suggests he deserves to be among the five or 10 highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL at the least.

The 26-year-old is 45-16 in his career as a starter during the regular season, plus he has led the Ravens to the playoffs in four of his five seasons.

Jackson is also a two-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro, in addition to winning the 2019 NFL MVP Award when he threw for a league-leading 36 touchdowns and rushed for 1,206 yards and another seven scores.

While Jackson has remained a dangerous weapon since then and established himself as one of the greatest runners at the quarterback position in NFL history, he has struggled to match his production from 2019.

Perhaps the biggest reason for that is his inability to stay healthy over the past two seasons. Jackson missed five regular-season games in both 2021 and 2022, as well as the Ravens' playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last season.

Mike Jones and Mike Sando of The Athletic reported this week that there is a belief among some NFL teams that the NFL Players Association is advising Jackson and pushing him to hold out for a fully guaranteed contract like the one Deshaun Watson received with the Cleveland Browns.

That has led to speculation that NFL teams are potentially colluding in an effort to avoid paying out another fully guaranteed deal and setting a precedent.

Several teams have reportedly leaked to the media that they do not plan on pursuing Jackson despite having a need at the quarterback position.

If Fowler's timeline is correct, it is possible a team could grow increasingly desperate for a quarterback if they are unable to land one through free agency, trade or the draft, and that could improve the chances of an offer sheet later in the offseason.

Until then, it appears the favored outcome is for Jackson to be back with the Ravens in 2023, whether it is under the franchise tag or with a new long-term deal.