If the Atlanta Falcons are interested in making a move for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, he just sent a big signal to the rest of the NFL.
The Ravens used a non-exclusive franchise tag on him earlier this month, meaning he’s free to negotiate with other teams.
It’s not quite that simple though.
The Ravens have the right of first refusal to match any team he gets an offer from, and if they refuse, they receiver two-first round picks as compensation.
To this point, teams have been reluctant to engage Jackson in possible contract talks, knowing they’d just be doing the work for the Ravens.
On Monday, Jackson gave the Ravens a little nudge in letting him go by publicly revealing he requested a trade earlier this month.
“Let me personally answer your questions in regards to my future plans,” Jackson wrote on Twitter. “A of March 2nd, I requested a trade from the Ravens organization for which the Ravens has not been interested in meeting my value, any and everyone that’s has met me or been around me know I love the game of football and my dream it to help a team win the super bowl.”
The Atlanta Falcons have been continuously linked with Jackson as an ideal destination. The Falcons have gone on a free agent spending spree, but still have significant money available for 2023.
Atlanta has put big money into defensive lineman David Onyemata and safety Jessie Bates, but they still have the sixth-most room under the salary cap according to Spotrac.
The Falcons have given every indication that they’re willing to build up the roster while second-year pro Desmond Ridder starts at quarterback in 2023. But if Jackson keeps pushing for a deal, the Ravens may be forced to move him.
Two-first round picks for a player like Jackson is chump change, but negotiating his contract may be the harder part. The Ravens have certainly found it difficult.
He’ll want $200+ million in guaranteed money with an average of $40+ million per season.
That sounds like an outrageous sum of money, but nine quarterbacks make $40+ million on their contracts right now according to Spotrac.
The Falcons may not be ready to make a commitment like that to a quarterback, but it’s looking more likely that Jackson and the Ravens are headed for a divorce.