The Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson on Tuesday. This tag allows Jackson and his team to still talk with other teams to work on a long-term deal while also carrying a $32 million cap hit. If one is agreed upon, the Ravens would be given a chance to match it or let Jackson walk. If they chose not to match it, Jackson’s new team would owe Baltimore a first round pick in both 2023 and 2024. With a steep asking price, which teams should try to strike a deal with Jackson?
The Falcons have reportedly been interested in Jackson ahead of the Ravens signing him to the franchise tag. Then, once the franchise tag news broke, it was reported that Atlanta’s interest may have already extinguished. They hold the No. 8 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and lack a true starting quarterback for next season. Marcus Mariota walked away from the team at the end of last season, and Desmond Ridder didn’t solidify himself as the starter.
The Panthers would be a solid landing place for Jackson. They should have the cap space, or at least could finagle it to present him an offer that the Ravens wouldn't want to match. Carolina has the No. 9 overall pick this year and should happily send it to Baltimore if it means bringing in the first proven quarterback they have had since prime Cam Newton.
Las Vegas Raiders
Yes, I know that Las Vegas doesn’t have cap space, but money feels made up in the NFL. It wouldn’t shock me if they were able to come up with the money by finagling other players’ salaries and signing bonuses. They are expected to franchise tag RB Josh Jacobs so why not go after Jackson and give him the best-supporting cast of his young career?
Miami is not sold on Tua Tagovailoa, and early rumors of Baltimore’s potential tag and trade idea had Jackson going to the Phins. The Dolphins now have a chance to get a franchise quarterback and lock down the position for the foreseeable future. The problem? They don't have the first round picks. The team’s first round pick in 2023 and 2024 has been vacated by the NFL due to tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton ahead of the 2019 season. It remains to be seen what they could get for Tagovailoa on the trade market, but if they can find a way to get the needed draft picks, landing Jackson would be huge for their outlook in the AFC East.
New York Jets
New York was linked to Derek Carr, and then he signed with the New Orleans Saints. They are now linked to Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers. If they can't work out a deal with the aging Rodgers, their offense could get a huge boost from bringing in Jackson. The Jets currently hold the No. 13 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, so they have the required draft capital. New York’s offense has been stagnant for years, and Jackson would finish off the youth movement and give them one of the better offenses in the entire AFC.