NFL Rumors: Lamar Jackson emerges as surprising target for AFC South team
Lamar Jackson is in one of the most complicated situations of any player during the 2023 NFL offseason. His future with the Baltimore Ravens appears to be in serious jeopardy after both parties have consistently failed to come to an agreement on a long-term contract extension. He's rumored to be joining a new team, but it's a bit more complicated than that.
The Ravens placed their non-exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent this year. The tag allows him to negotiate a contract with other teams, but the Ravens will have the opportunity to match any offer on the table. While no teams have reportedly offered Jackson a contract yet, several teams have been rumored to be showing interest.
One of the more surprising recent developments is that the Indianapolis Colts have reportedly not ruled out the idea of signing Jackson to the massive contract he's looking for.
The Colts currently own the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, so they are expected to select a quarterback. The 2023 draft class is loaded with talent at the position, but apparently the Colts are considering pivoting to Jackson. They recently have a history of going with veteran quarterbacks, including Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers, and Matt Ryan, so they may choose to do so again.
If the Colts do in fact decide they want to pursue Lamar Jackson, they still have several road blocks to clear due to the non-exclusive franchise tag. The Ravens will remain in relative control of the situation if they desire to keep their superstar quarterback.
How does Lamar Jackson's non-exclusive franchise tag from Ravens work?
The non-exclusive franchise tag allows Lamar Jackson to negotiate a new contract with any team during the 2023 NFL free agency period. But, there's a catch.
The Baltimore Ravens have the right to match any offer sheet he signs. If they choose to do so, he will remain in Baltimore and the Ravens will be responsible for the new contract he negotiated with the other team.
If Jackson signs an offer sheet and the Ravens decide to pass on matching it, he is free to sign with the team that offered him the contract. The Ravens will be compensated for this as per the franchise tag. The new team will be required to send two first-round NFL draft picks to Baltimore in exchange for their quarterback.