What is scaring teams away from sending Lamar Jackson an offer sheet? | You Pod to Win the Game
Yahoo Sports NFL writers Charles Robinson and Jori Epstein discuss the situation surrounding Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson after the Ravens gave Jackson the non-exclusive franchise tag, and debate why teams may be hesitant to send Jackson an offer sheet. Hear the full conversation on You Pod To Win The Game -- subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
CHARLES ROBINSON: We're gonna have to talk about Lamar Jackson. You had a great piece. We were learning-- to take a line from you in your piece-- about who was or wasn't in the Lamar Jackson business. I'm so glad I get to talk to you about this for two reasons.
Number one, there's an element of this entire thing that pisses me off beyond belief, and I'll get to that. But, first, I want to ask you, I remember talking to a multitude of teams about Deshaun Watson, and they were saying-- and for obviously different reasons, but they were saying, no-- and paraphrasing here-- we're not gonna be in the Deshaun Watson business. They were saying, we're not gonna get involved here. And then, all of a sudden, when it became clear it was moving week with Deshaun Watson, I will tell you, some of those organizations that said they were not going to be involved suddenly were involved.
JORI EPSTEIN: Yep.
CHARLES ROBINSON: And I am curious how much you believe-- I think if teams initially-- and it was interesting to see kind of how Twitter reacted to this, that there just wasn't this like land rush of teams that were-- and people were like, oh, no, it's like the opposite. Why are they all coming out and immediately saying they're not interested?
Well, here's the thing. How many teams out there are saying that they're interested in any free agent that's not on their team right now? How many--
JORI EPSTEIN: Right.
CHARLES ROBINSON: --teams are saying that about anybody--
JORI EPSTEIN: Yes.
CHARLES ROBINSON: --that's not currently on their team, number one?
Number two, I'll give you a scenario. Let's say Miami was interested, right, in Lamar Jackson.
JORI EPSTEIN: Yeah. You gotta--
CHARLES ROBINSON: There is--
JORI EPSTEIN: --figure out--
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, how do you even-- you're like, OK, we have to figure out a way to talk to him. Would he be interested? Could we potentially hammer out some kind of a contract extremely quietly? And then we have to know, the second we present him with an offer sheet, the answer is yes. No team out there wants to present Lamar Jackson with an offer sheet unless he absolutely is going to say yes. Because if he says no--
JORI EPSTEIN: Right. Your team--
CHARLES ROBINSON: --now--
JORI EPSTEIN: --will have lost out on Lamar.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Well, not only that, you've put it out there. Like you're out there. And if it's a team like Miami and they put it out there and he says no, you gonna then turn around to Tua and be like, no, no, man, we really love you. We love you. We do. We just-- you know? I mean, it's just-- it's one of these things where people wanted the instant gratification of a land rush for Lamar, and I don't think it was really overtly, above board, out in public, going to work that way.
I do think there's interest there. I do think there's interest there maybe from teams that are saying there's no interest, and it's because, on a multiple-- on multiple different levels, they're trying to protect certain things, one of which that we will talk about is there are-- I think there are a number of teams out there that are sitting there going, Baltimore's gonna match a deal. So are we just gonna do Baltimore's work for them?
JORI EPSTEIN: Right.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Because there's no poison-pill deals anymore. We can't put--
JORI EPSTEIN: Yep,
CHARLES ROBINSON: --something in here that makes it impossible. We're gonna work out a good market deal with Lamar. Maybe he likes it and says yes and he signs that one offer sheet he can sign, and then Baltimore is just gonna step in and go, nope, we always were going to match it. And so it's a whole lot of stuff for nothing.
JORI EPSTEIN: Right. The irony of some of this is that like most tags used, including every six-- all six players tagged this year, are non-exclusive tags. And the headline wasn't he got tagged. It was he got the non-exclusive tag. And I think that's totally fair. And you wrote a great piece being like, here's what that means. They're letting teams negotiate.
But I agree with you. I think that there are a few factors at play. Like teams I talked to definitely cited his injury history, which I know that injuries are a potential factor with players. Like he did end the last two seasons injured, and he's a running quarterback. And I was like a little bit surprised because I had one team be like, well, I think it's different than Deshaun because-- what's it called-- because he's-- because Deshaun is a passing quarterback, and so you can kind of put him in any system, whereas, Lamar, you really have to tailor your system to his strengths.
So I crunched some numbers of all of the touches in their career to be like how much more does Lamar actually run than Deshaun? And it was significant. Deshaun has passed on 84.8% of career touches, and Lamar has passed on 69.5%. So like, yeah, when he runs, he's averaging 6.8 yards per carry, but 30% of his game is running, which is a lot for a quarterback.
And so I don't think there's nothing. And that doesn't mean that he's not a good fit for any team. It's kind of like when you date, like all you need is one, or at least so they say. And so it's kind of like-- Charles is-- I mean, you've been around longer than I have.
But I do think that there's going to be an offer, whether that's from Baltimore or someone else. And, also, if he ends up back in Baltimore, I don't think that means the league shunned him. I think maybe that means--
CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.
JORI EPSTEIN: --like you said, Baltimore gave him a good offer. And I think, as I wrote in my piece today, a big part of this is, they don't want to give him a fully guaranteed contract. Because why would a team want to pay more when they don't think they have to?