Baltimore Ravens place non-exclusive franchise tag on QB Lamar Jackson
The Baltimore Ravens have placed a franchise tag on Lamar Jackson, but there is no guarantee he will be their quarterback in 2023.
The Ravens gave Jackson the non-exclusive franchise tag on Tuesday, meaning he is free to negotiate with other teams.
If he signs an offer sheet with another NFL team, the Ravens have the option of matching it to keep Jackson or decline it and receive the other team's 2023 and 2024 first-round draft picks as compensation.
Had the Ravens placed the exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, he would have been locked up for the 2023 season by Baltimore and received a guaranteed salary of $45million.
The 26-year-old, who represents himself without an agent and just completed the final year of his rookie contract, also has the option of signing a one-year franchise tender to play for the Ravens in 2023 for a guaranteed salary of $32.4m.
The decision for the Ravens to place the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson and not work out a long-term deal differs greatly from what the team was indicating less than two months ago.
Just days after the Ravens' 2022 season ended with a 24-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round, both general manager Eric DeCosta and coach John Harbaugh told reporters that they were determined to keep Jackson.
"Lamar Jackson is our quarterback," Harbaugh said on January 19. "He's been our quarterback. Everything we've done in terms of building our offense and our team, putting people around him, is based around this young man, his talent, his ability and his competitiveness.
"I'll have my fingers crossed and my toes crossed, I'll be saying prayers, I've every faith it's going to get done. Eric wants him here, I want him here, [owner] Steve [Bisciotti] wants him here and Lamar wants to be here. It's going to work out."
When asked if Jackson would be Baltimore's Week 1 starting QB next season, DeCosta added: "I don’t see any reason why he won't be."
Now that the Ravens have given him the opportunity to hit the open market, there is a distinct possibility he has played his final game for Baltimore.
The 32nd overall pick of the 2018 draft, Jackson ranks second in Ravens' franchise history in passing yards (12,209) and passing touchdowns (101) and was the league MVP in 2019.
His last two seasons, however, have been mired by injuries, as he missed five games in 2021 and the final five of 2022 due to a knee injury.