The Lamar Jackson saga is getting interesting in Baltimore, and New York Jets fans are watching closely
New York Jets fans are keeping a close eye on the situations of any potentially available veteran quarterback in the NFL.
Baltimore Ravens signal-caller Lamar Jackson is the latest veteran who is starting to look more and more like he may be headed elsewhere in the offseason.
Jackson is an impending free agent and could not come to terms with Baltimore on a long-term deal prior to the regular season, so the two sides agreed to put talks on hold. But things have gotten murkier since the season began, for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons just arose yesterday.
The drama around Jackson intensified on Tuesday when the Ravens agreed to terms with linebacker Roquan Smith on a five-year, $100 million deal with $45 million guaranteed.
Per Saint Omni, The #Ravens agree in principle with All-Pro LB Roquan Smith — now the highest paid at his position in NFL history with a 5-yr, $100M deal. $45M fully guaranteed & $60M in total guarantees. Huge. The 1st off-ball LB to get $20M per year. Roquan represented himself. pic.twitter.com/KCy7t26SpZ
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 10, 2023
Baltimore acquired Smith from Chicago in a trade on October 31. Smith has excelled since joining the Ravens, serving as the primary cog in a major late-season turnaround for Baltimore’s defense.
Smith’s signing figures to play a role in Jackson’s future with the Ravens.
The most direct impact of the move is that it now seems clear that Baltimore will utilize the franchise tag on Jackson. Smith was an impending free agent and could have been a candidate for the tag if not signed to a long-term deal. Now that Smith is signed, Jackson is left as Baltimore’s only legitimate candidate for the franchise tag.
Even if they don’t intend to sign him long-term, it is very likely the Ravens will place the tag on Jackson since it allows them to maintain his rights and trade him rather than allow him to leave in free agency for nothing.
Additionally, it is fair to wonder how the Smith contract affects Jackson’s perception of how the organization feels about him. Smith is an off-ball linebacker who just arrived in Baltimore a few months ago. Jackson is an MVP quarterback who has been the face of the franchise for five seasons. There is certainly a chance that Jackson is rubbed the wrong way by Baltimore’s haste with signing Smith compared to their hesitance in signing their franchise quarterback.
Wednesday morning brought more important news in the Jackson saga. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Jackson is facing an “uphill battle” to play in the Ravens’ Wild Card playoff game against Cincinnati on Sunday. Jackson has missed five straight games with a PCL sprain.
With no contract, it is fair to wonder if Jackson feels it is even worth risking his health to play in this game.
Things are certainly getting interesting in Baltimore.
If things continue going down the wrong path for Jackson and the Ravens, there is a chance the New York Jets could enter the picture. Reports indicate that New York is preparing to make an aggressive offer for Jackson if he becomes available.