The signs currently are pointing to the Ravens applying the non-exclusive franchise tag to quarterback Lamar Jackson, if they can’t sign him to a long-term contract.
That would allow other teams to negotiate with Jackson and sign him to an offer sheet. If the Ravens don’t match the offer sheet, they would get two first-round draft picks from Jackson’s new team.
Some believe that Jackson would like to return to his hometown of Miami and play for the Dolphins. Jackson, given the ability of coach Mike McDaniel to draw up game plans that get the most out of the talents of his players, could work very well as a runner and a passer in Miami’s attack.
But there’s a problem. The Dolphins don’t have a first-round pick in 2023, thanks to the tampering investigation and sanctions arising from the failed effort to lure coach Sean Payton and quarterback Tom Brady to Miami.
There’s another way to skin the cat. If Jackson doesn’t sign an offer sheet with another team before the draft, the Dolphins could sign Jackson to an offer sheet after the draft. Then, if the Ravens don’t match, Baltimore would get Miami’s first-round picks in 2024 and 2025.
Before the Ravens would be in a position to match or take a pair of first-round picks, Jackson would have to negotiate a multi-year offer sheet with a new team. He has been unable to do that, so far, with the Ravens.
If the Ravens apply the non-exclusive franchise tag to Jackson, they’ll be inviting any other team to do what the Ravens have been unable to get Jackson to do. If the Dolphins wait until after the 2023 draft has come and gone, they’ll have a chance to give it a try — if they want.