Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has been a popular name with Atlanta Falcons fans recently. Atlanta has been linked as a probable destination for Jackson IF… IF he is moved.
Jackson is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season, but the Ravens have the option to use a franchise tag on Jackson for multiple years. The first franchise tag would pay Jackson the average of the top-five highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL.
$40+ million for a year’s work sounds like a good deal, but when Deshaun Watson is getting $250-million guaranteed from the Cleveland Browns, you see why a player prefers a long-term deal.
Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta and head coach Jim Harbaugh sound confident they can come to terms with Jackson to keep him in Baltimore.
“I truly believe Lamar wants to finish his career in Baltimore,” said DeCosta at the team’s end of season press conference.
Harbaugh doubled down on Jackson staying with the Ravens.
“I have every faith that it’s going to get done,” Harbaugh said. “Eric wants him here. I want him here. [Ravens Owner] Steve [Bisciotti] wants him here, and Lamar wants to be here. So, it’s going to work out.”
The idea of bringing Jackson to Atlanta is an intriguing one. The Falcons have the salary-cap room. They have a high first round draft choice, and they have an offense that would be a round peg in a round hole.
But the cost to get him would be astronomical.
Pro Football Focus (PFF) uses the Watson deal as a baseline, meaning it would cost the Falcons 1st-round picks in each of the next three drafts… and then some… and then signing him to a long-term contract that would look similar to Watson’s deal.
There’s no question Lamar Jackson would be the type of talent that would excite fans the way Michael Vick once did in Atlanta, but would he be worth that type of investment from the Falcons?
If the Ravens have their way, we’ll never find out.