Let’s say the Patriots signed Lamar Jackson to an offer sheet. It effectively would put the ball in the Ravens’ court, as Baltimore would have five days to either match it or receive two first-round draft picks as compensation for the quarterback joining New England.
There’s a chance the Patriots (or another NFL team) could work out a trade with the Ravens, who placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on Jackson, in which case the compensation Baltimore receives might be less (or at least different) than two first-rounders.
“The smaller-scale example is Davante Adams last year — when he was on the franchise tag and he wanted to be with the Raiders, (the Packers) worked out the trade with the Raiders, he signed the tag, he got traded,” NFL insider Dan Graziano said Tuesday on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “So yes, that could happen. You could get Lamar Jackson for something less than two first-round picks, if you wanted to.”
Of course, matching up on a trade is easier said than done, especially with the stakes so high. But Jackson has yet to sign an offer sheet despite being able to talk with other teams, an indication his market hasn’t really developed. And Jackson announced Monday that he requested a trade, perhaps increasing the likelihood that Baltimore works out a deal that doesn’t involve him signing an offer sheet elsewhere.
For example, the Patriots could offer the Ravens a trade package centered around third-year quarterback Mac Jones and the 14th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. And Baltimore could accept, with Jackson then potentially signing a new long-term contract with New England.
Jackson will earn $32.416 million this season if he plays under the nonexclusive franchise tag. But Jackson reportedly is seeking a long-term deal with a guarantee in the neighborhood of the $230 million Deshaun Watson received from the Cleveland Browns, a development that likely is giving some teams pause as they weigh whether to pursue the 2019 NFL MVP.