No worries. Doubtful Lamar sits out a year.
From the Athletic
That NFL teams had no idea Jackson requested a trade is a clear sign the Ravens are content to let the process play out on their terms.
The trade request was viewed as a bizarre play by rival team executives. Most notably, Jackson can sign an offer sheet with any team, and the Ravens can either match it to retain him or decline it and recoup two first-round picks from his new team. That essentially means he’s already a trade candidate, and he doesn’t need to seek permission or submit a request to execute such a move, especially since the price of a couple first-rounders is cheaper than what the Browns
paid for Deshaun Watson
and the Broncos
gave up for Russell Wilson
just last offseason.
Jones: With Lamar Jackson, NFL owners show it's control they care about the most
Furthering the strange turns of events, the NFL issued a memo to teams last week
instructing them not to engage with Ken Francis, whom the league said was reaching out on Jackson’s behalf. Francis is not certified by the NFLPA, so he is not permitted to negotiate player contracts.
Jackson’s quest to land a long-term deal hasn’t worked out so far. He and the team haven’t reached an extension despite negotiating for much of the past two years.
Jackson, understandably, wants a heavily guaranteed contract in a similar ballpark as Watson’s five-year, $230 million pact. But team executives have consistently said a fully guaranteed deal won’t be replicated anytime soon, while even a heavily guaranteed deal will be challenging. Watson had all the leverage with a no-trade clause and eliminated the Browns from consideration before their aggressive push to change his mind.
To this point, that type of demand hasn’t existed for Jackson. That’s why the Ravens have stuck to their leverage point — the franchise tag — while hoping Jackson would lessen his demands as the process wore on.
By using the tag, the Ravens knew Jackson could gain a better sense of his market value because of his freedom to speak with other teams. It’s a standard play when teams are at an impasse with a player, and the goal is for both sides to return to the table with a clearer understanding of what the market believes said player is worth. Theoretically, this would help them find common ground on a new deal.
But Jackson’s situation is unique, and teams, so far, seem unwilling to negotiate with Jackson — whether that’s because they don’t want him or because they don’t want to do the heavy-lifting on a negotiation before the Ravens simply match the terms.
Either way, Jackson’s trade request might not get him any closer to a coveted extension. The Ravens have been steadfast to this point, knowing they’d recoup those first-round picks if Jackson landed an offer sheet that went beyond their means. From the other side, why would another team trade for Jackson when they could simply match his price point and sign him while yielding fewer picks that it required to land Watson or Wilson? Maybe the logic would be to acquire Jackson on the franchise tag and hope to use the next year — or two, if they tag him again in 2024 — to convince him to reduce his contractual demands. That’d be a risk for obvious reasons.
So with the Ravens unmotivated to trade Jackson and other teams so far unmotivated to make a move on Jackson, the two sides’ negotiations remain at a standstill.
That’s why his publicized trade request sent shock waves around the league. The fact that team didn’t know about it was yet another sign the Ravens are comfortable exercising their leverage while letting this continue to play out on their terms.