The Ravens will use the franchise tag on Lamar Jackson if they can’t agree to a long-term contract with him before Tuesday’s deadline, according to one of the team’s top executives.
Ozzie Newsome, executive vice president and former general manager of the Ravens, shared the revelation Monday on the Bernie Kosar Show.
“The biggest thing is we have a deadline tomorrow at 4 p.m. to put the tag on it,” Newsome said. “I know that today and until 3:30 tomorrow, a lot of energy will be used to try to achieve the [long-term] deal. And if not, we’ll put the franchise tag on it.”
Newsome’s comments are the most detailed yet about the Ravens’ plans with Jackson if they can’t reach a long-term deal. General manager Eric DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh have both insisted publicly that they want Jackson back, but the two sides have remained far apart in negotiations.
Jackson has been seeking guaranteed money in excess of the $230 million the Browns gave Deshaun Watson this offseason, according to CBS. The Watson deal was unprecedented in how much was guaranteed and that it was fully guaranteed. Jackson, of course, is a former MVP and has more playoff appearances than Watson.
[Why Lamar Jackson will win contract dispute with Ravens]
What Newsome didn’t specify was what franchise tag the Ravens would use on their star QB. The exclusive label would pay Jackson $45 million in 2023 and give the two sides until July 15 to reach a long-term deal.
The non-exclusive tag is worth $32.4 million this year, but would also allow Jackson to enter contract negotiations with other teams. Baltimore would then have the option to match any contract offer or receive two first-round picks as compensation from the team Jackson signs with.
The Ravens were reportedly considering the non-exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson
With so many QB-needy teams around the league, Jackson could command more than the Ravens have offered or are willing to do. His decision to move back into the first round and select Jackson with the No. 32 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft is widely regarded as one of the biggest moves in Newsome’s tenure as general manager, a position he held in Baltimore from 2002 to 2019. Baltimore has made the playoffs in four of Jackson’s five seasons, including 2022, despite being sidelined by a knee injury and not playing in a wild-card loss.
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