The Baltimore Ravens have played things right so far during the Lamar Jackson saga. The team used the non-exclusive franchise tag, which is just $32M instead of over $45M. The risk in doing that was giving other teams the chance to sign Lamar Jackson, and only getting two first-round picks back.
However, so far it has played out exactly how they would like. Teams are hard-pressed to offer him a deal because they know the Ravens are likely to match. Beyond that, offering him a deal and then not getting him makes them look bad. Who is signing up for that?
Lamar Jackson is likely to sign long-term with the Baltimore Ravens
At this point, it looks like Jackson will not get any big offers. So, what does he do now? Does he come back and play on the franchise tag? At this point, the Ravens actually may have made the best play to get a long-term deal done.
The reality is that Lamar Jackson does not want to play on the tag for $32M. He thought he was going to get at least $45M, and then if he signed an extension it would be even closer to $50, if not over that because of the new money and signing bonus.
So, last year Lamar Jackson did not want to take the Ravens deal because he thought he could do better. Now that he cannot get better, will he take the Ravens deal?
It looks like he is being a loser in this situation, but if he goes from making $32M next season with questions about his future salary, compared to $50M next season with $180M guaranteed, he may be seeing the Baltimore Ravens as much more favorable at this point.
Sure, $180M is not $250M, but it is a heck of a lot better than $32M. When Lamar Jackson had the leverage, he used it. Now, the Baltimore Ravens have the leverage and are using this against him.
The Baltimore Ravens may be the one who gets the last laugh because Jackson will now have real monetary decisions to make when it had just been negotiations and posturing.