If the Ravens use the exclusive franchise tag, Jackson is effectively off the market. The price on it, as it stands right now (and this can fluctuate through the offseason because it’s based on 2023 numbers), is $45.46 million. If the Ravens intend to keep Jackson, that figure shouldn’t faze them. It’d put the cost of two tags at just over $100 million. And if we presume a new deal would be more than $50 million per year, anyway, well, the exclusive tag would simply frame the contract in that area. That said, it could also upset Jackson, and would make him harder to trade.
If the Ravens use the nonexclusive tag, things would get interesting. The price under that tag would be $32.42 million, but, if you presume someone would sign him to an offer sheet, that’s not that relevant. Remember, the one commonality between the fully guaranteed contracts quarterbacks have signed—Kirk Cousins (in 2018) and Deshaun Watson (last year)—was that they happened in large part because there were multiple bidders, as there would be in this scenario. The Ravens could do this to get another team to write the contract for them. And that’s where the element of a fully guaranteed deal comes in—it would be the way you’d try to make sure the Ravens wouldn’t match. Letting Jackson go would bring two first-round picks back to Baltimore. The Ravens could also match, and then work out a trade with the team signing him. Or, of course, just match and keep him, with the other team having done the legwork.
While they don’t currently have $32 million of space to fit the franchise tag under their cap, they have another nine days to make sure they do. But that doesn’t mean they’ll wait, either. Typically, the Ravens prefer to give veterans, who they know may not be in their plans, a bit of a head start to free agency. That’s a courtesy many teams afford to veterans. If the Ravens follow that route, then a few roster subtractions could be imminent.
Campbell, running back Gus Edwards ($4.4 million in cap savings), wide receiver/return specialist Devin Duvernay ($4.3 million), nose tackle Michael Pierce ($2.1 million) and safety Chuck Clark ($3.5 million) are all potential salary-cap casualties. In a perfect world, all would stay. If DeCosta and company were more desperate for space, they could also look at players such as fullback Patrick Ricard ($1.6 million) and right tackle Morgan Moses ($2.5 million).
Don’t misunderstand. All of those players won’t be cap casualties. But some of them almost certainly will be, whether it’s this week or in the days that follow. All of a sudden, the Ravens’ roster could be stretched pretty thin and DeCosta won’t have too much capital (little cap space and only five draft picks) to augment it.
Everyone longs for a Jackson resolution, but that doesn’t mean the Ravens should rush one solely because of the 2023 season. If you can still strike the right long-term deal, short-term cap challenges are worth it. If you ultimately trade Jackson, the complexion of the upcoming season changes dramatically anyway.
The departure of Rob Leonard means Odafe Oweh will have his third outside linebackers coach in as many seasons. Whoever takes that job will need to get more out of Oweh and maximize the potential of a healthy David Ojabo.
After being widely regarded as Teflon for years, the Ravens’ culture is under fire in the wake of the Saunders fallout and Bateman’s rant. That makes an already difficult Jackson contract saga even more unsettling. Business or not, parting ways with a 26-year-old star quarterback would be uncharted territory.
2023 All-Combine Team, Offense: QB C.J. Stroud, TE Darnell Washington impress in Indianapolis - Nick Shook
He was clean, controlled and smooth throughout all of the drills at Lucas Oil Stadium, running crisp routes and making many of his catches look routine.
Smith-Njigba is quicker than fast — he posted the best 20-yard shuttle time of any receiver since 2014 — which will get him open plenty at the next level. He leaves Indianapolis just as he arrived — as one of the top talents at the position.
Smith put together an incredible round of testing, posting the second-fastest 40 time for a defensive lineman since 2003. He also finished as the heaviest player in the past 10 combines to post both a 40-inch-plus vertical leap (41 1/2 inches) and a 40 time below 4.4 seconds. The best part about all of it: He’s not just a workout warrior; these numbers show up on the tape.
Adebawore introduced himself emphatically with a 4.49 40, the fastest of any player weighing 280-plus pounds since 2003. He was two-hundredths of a second faster than last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Travon Walker, despite weighing 10 pounds more than Walker (282 to 272). Adebawore also out-jumped Walker in the vertical (37 1/2 inches to 35 1/2 inches) and broad jump (10-foot-5 to 10-3).
2023 NFL Combine: Performance grades for the top 20 draft prospects - Trevor Sikkema
Johnston has long been a different kind of receiver in this draft class. In a group full of smaller, shiftier receivers, he is one of the few who brings size and explosiveness. He proved both at the combine, measuring in at 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds while jumping a 40.5-inch vertical and an 11-foot-2 broad. Not to mention, he made an acrobatic catch at the sideline during on-field drills.
For his 34-inch arms alone, Porter’s grade could be an “A.” Then he threw up an impressive 17 reps on the bench with those insanely long arms. He also ran an official 4.46-second 40-yard dash with a 35-inch vertical and a 10-foot-9 broad. Porter was a big winner on the week to strengthen the top of this cornerback class.
My goodness, what a week for Deonte Banks. The Maryland product measured in at 6-foot-5 and 197 pounds. He proceeded to put on an athletic show with a 4.35-second 40-yard dash, a 42-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot-4 broad jump. All of those numbers placed in the 95th percentile or above for the cornerback position, proving he has the size and the speed to potentially be a top cover cornerback in the NFL.