There was rampant speculation surrounding the Baltimore Ravens and their quarterback, Lamar Jackson, this past season. And it will likely only increase as the team plans to make a crucial decision this upcoming offseason.
The Ravens intend to place a franchise tag on the former MVP Jackson ahead of the March 9th deadline, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. They can go the route of a non-exclusive tag, which would enable them to trade Jackson should a long-term deal not be reached. Jackson turned down a contract extension before the season and opted instead to bet on himself.
That decision has not yet yielded him the response he was hoping to hear from the Ravens front office, as both sides could now be at an impasse. Jackson threw for 2,242 passing yards and 17 touchdowns while also tacking on another 764 yards on the ground and three rushing scores before a Week 13 knee injury sidelined him the rest of the season. The Ravens were 8-4 with Jackson and went 3-4 with back-up QB Tyler Huntley as starter (Huntley did play almost the entire Denver Broncos 10-9 win).
Baltimore fell in the Wild Card Round to the Cincinnati Bengals with Huntley making a costly fourth-quarter fumble at the goal-line that was brought back for a go-ahead Bengals touchdown. The blunder was ultimately the difference in the game. The aftermath of the loss only fueled more talk from fans and teammates of how vital Jackson’s presence is to the success of the franchise.
That support will not matter, however, if the organization and Lamar Jackson are not on the same wavelength. The one thing that is certain? Using the franchise tag will officially start the process of finding a resolution to this ongoing saga.
It may not be the one fans want, though.