It's been quite some time since we got the latest Lamar Jackson news and gossip, and we finally have a massive nugget of information that should change the trajectory of the NFL for the 2023 season.
Jackson took to Twitter to post a thread of four tweets announcing that he requested a trade for the Baltimore Ravens on March 2. I don't know when you're reading this, but I'm writing this on March 27 — almost a month after the fact.
A letter to my Fans
I want to first thank you all for all of the love and support you consistently show towards me. All of you are amazing and I appreciate y?all so much. I want you all to know not to believe everything you read about me. Let me personally answer your questions
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) March 27, 2023
Hey, where were we on that, NFL Insiders?
Anyway, the timing of this tweet is even more interesting, as it lined up with when Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was due to speak with reporters at the league's annual meeting, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Lamar Jackson?s announcement came at the exact time that Ravens? coach John Harbaugh was set to speak to reporters at the league?s annual meeting.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 27, 2023
Speaking with reporters, Harbaugh still seemed optimistic about having the signal-caller on the roster come Week 1.
#Ravens HC John Harbaugh is speaking now here at the owners meetings: ?I haven?t seen the tweet and it?s an ongoing process.?
Harbaugh said he anticipates Lamar being their QB for Week 1.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) March 27, 2023
?I?m getting ready for Lamar. ? When Lamar gets back on this train, it?s moving full speed.?#Ravens coach John Harbaugh, on his QB requesting a trade.
?We love him.?
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 27, 2023
Harbaugh also wasn't exactly interested in talking much about Jackson's official request, though.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) March 27, 2023
There are a few interesting takeaways from Jackson's series of tweets. He cited the Ravens as not being "interested in meeting my value" and said the Ravens fan base is "great" but that he had to "make a business decision that was best for my family and I."
Several tweets have come out about Jackson recently, including Tom Pelissero reporting that Jackson's business partner Ken Francis, a Florida man, was trying to negotiate Jackson's contract. As a result of that activity, the league sent out a memo advising teams not to negotiate with him because he's not a certified agent.
Ken Francis is a Florida man who most recently was pitching a home fitness invention, I?m told. He now is trying to negotiate a nine-figure contract with NFL teams, who are being told they?re not allowed to negotiate with him because he?s not a certified agent. https://t.co/39nlbWPXuD
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 23, 2023
Well, Jackson disagreed. However, the league likely wouldn't send out a memo without some validity to its statement.
Stop Lying that man never tried to negotiate for me ?? https://t.co/DIMXtxOAnR
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) March 23, 2023
Jackson's announcement of the March 2 request comes about two weeks after he tweeted about the contract that he said the Ravens offered: three years and $133 million guaranteed.
133/3years fully guaranteed? but I need a agent? ??????
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) March 14, 2023
Where Jackson Goes From Here
So now what? Where do we go from here?
If you'll recall, Jackson is currently under a non-exclusive franchise tag. This came on March 7, which would've been five days after his trade request.
This franchise tag carries a value of $32.4 million for one season. However, players under this tag can negotiate with other teams, which can sign Jackson to an offer sheet. In addition to the offer, they'd need to deal two first-round picks to the Ravens.
That said, teams could negotiate a trade on the side for less compensation. If that's the case, Jackson would sign his franchise tag, the Ravens would trade him and receive compensation, and the team would then sign Jackson.
While Harbaugh hopes Jackson will be on the roster, it's safe to assume that this relationship has soured with the Ravens leadership and front office, at the very least.
In terms of leverage, the Ravens are currently on the wrong side of it. Jackson has now publicly stated he wants out — and, thus, the Ravens may not have a chance to get those two first-round picks. They could hold Jackson "hostage," but it doesn't seem unlikely he'd be willing to sit out.
There's another angle to this we should consider. If a team is willing to go along with the two first-round picks, it could very well wait until after the draft, and then it would be a first-round pick in 2024 and 2025. This would allow a team such as the Indianapolis Colts, for example, to draft an offensive lineman, or the Atlanta Falcons to take a receiver or cornerback.
As you can see, there are several scenarios.
However, to answer the question, it appears that Jackson is on his way out, and teams such as the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Commanders and many others should be in the mix.
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