More than the Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson sign a contract, the only thing we can consider are franchise tag options. Whether that is the exclusive or non-exclusive tag, we won’t know until General Manager Eric DeCosta, who has “thought about it every day,” makes the final decision.
Deadline: February 21 — March 7, 2023
Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag (NEFT)
If the Ravens decide to use the non-exclusive franchise tag, it would cost the Ravens $32.416 million, as the NFL has informed teams of the 2023 franchise tag numbers along with the official salary cap.
Why the Ravens would use this route:
- Cheaper: The NEFT comes at a lower cost than the exclusive franchise tag. It is calculated by averaging the top five cap hits at the position for the previous five years, then adjusted proportionally to the salary cap for the upcoming season.
- Test the Market: If the Ravens are not willing to deal Jackson a fully guaranteed deal, this would be the method in which they can see if other teams are willing to do so as the NEFT allows Jackson to negotiate with other teams. If a team is willing to offer Jackson a deal he would sign, the Ravens can then either also match the offer or receive two first-round picks as compensation. Seeing if a team is confident enough to sign Jackson to a heftier price and fork over two first-round selections is likely on the table for the Ravens at this point.
Exclusive Franchise Tag (EFT)
Going the exclusive franchise tag route offers its own set of perks and pitfalls. The latterbeing the sizable difference in price tag.
The price of the EFT isn’t finalized until after free agency of that year. The NFL then calculates the top five cap hits of said position and averages them. As of now, that puts the quarterback EFT at $45,457,732.
QB Franchise tag prices as of Jan. 31— Kyle Phoenix Barber (@KylePBarber) January 31, 2023
*Subject to change. Not finalized until after free agency (mid-April).
Exclusive=Avg. of top 5 cap hits
D Watson $54.99M
D Prescott $49.13M
P Mahomes $46.79M
J Allen $39.77M
R Tannehill $36.6M
The perk of the EFT ceases all other teams from entering negotiations with Jackson. If other teams are interested in acquiring Jackson, they cannot do so through him. They must discuss all things through the Ravens.
The Ravens would see their entire cap space vanish under either option. This reminds me of an old adage.
“The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is now.” — Anonymous
This deal not coming to fruition last season hurt the Ravens. But the second-best time to complete a contract is now. It’s been weighing on DeCosta, Jackson and the Ravens organization for awhile. Now, they have five weeks before the tag deadline.