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Despite being one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL for the past five seasons, Lamar Jackson’s trading market isn’t as robust as you might think.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, most teams expect the Baltimore Ravens to use the exclusive franchise tag for Jackson and are waiting to see how long-term contract talks unfold before attempting a trade offer for the 2019 NFL MVP.
“And it could become a stalemate because I wouldn’t expect him to sign the tag for a while,” said an AFC executive. “And they will be so far apart in the guaranteed money.”
There has been some debate as to what version of the franchise tag the Ravens will use to prevent Jackson from becoming an unrestricted free agent.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport called At The Pat McAfee Show Earlier this week, Jackson will receive the exclusive franchise tag.
The exclusive tag guarantees a player the higher of the average of the five highest-paid players at the position or 120 percent of their previous year’s salary. The non-exclusive tag comes with the same guaranteed money, but the non-exclusive tag allows the player to bargain with other teams.
If the Ravens used the non-exclusive tag and Jackson received an offer they didn’t want to take, they would receive two first-round picks as compensation.
The non-exclusive label would be redundant since a quarterback of Jackson’s caliber at age 26 would almost certainly be traded for more than two first-round picks. The exclusive tag gives the Ravens more time to see if they can close the gap to the two-time Pro Bowler with guaranteed money.
Fowler noted that the Ravens and Jackson could “potentially” be as much as $100 million in guaranteed money apart, and trade talks would likely move closer to the draft if it became clear that a long-term agreement would not be reached.
It will be interesting to see if Jackson may have lost some of his bargaining power. He has missed the last five regular season games in each of the last two seasons through injury.
Head coach John Harbaugh seemed frustrated when asked about Jackson’s injury last month of this season. He told reporters in January there was a “200 percent chance” Jackson would be with the Ravens next season.
Injury worries aside, Jackson remains one of the most dynamic offensive players in the NFL. He threw for 2,242 yards, rushed for 764 yards and had 20 touchdowns in 12 starts this season.