I don’t know what Lamar Jackson’s career gameplan is here. No one does. Including Lamar Jackson. My best current guess is that he will play for the Ravens under the franchise tag this season. He will come in late, and sullen, and display unending passive aggressiveness toward the Ravens franchise. He will attempt to portray himself as an underappreciated, underpaid victim.
But he will play for the Ravens. That explains his active recruitment in bringing OBJ to Baltimore. Jackson wants to put up some numbers, improve his reputation as a passer, stay healthy and then try to break the bank in 2024, either in Baltimore or elsewhere.
Good luck with all of that.
Jackson’s agent (himself) has painted him into a corner. Nobody is going to pay him what he wants. Nobody is going to give up two first-round draft picks to acquire a quarterback who will STILL be unhappy with his deal. No one wants the Ravens’ problem to become their problem.
Notice that the Colts went of their way Wednesday to distance themselves from speculation about Jackson.
The $230 million guaranteed deal the Browns gave Deshaun Watson did not “re-set the quarterback market.” It merely proved, again, that the Browns are clueless. The Ravens are under no obligation to follow Cleveland off the cliff.
I do think that Jackson is a rare, and even unique, talent. And I genuinely wish him well. And I genuinely hope he comes to realize that the team that best knows how to utilize his unique talents is the Baltimore Ravens.
Nor does Saquon Barkley have any leverage with the Giants. Barkley has not signed his franchise tender, which would pay him just over $10 million this season. Barkley wants a new long-term deal. The Giants would like to sign him to a new long-term deal. But Barkley has already turned down an offer for $12 million per year. Why would the Giants budge? They don’t have to. Oh, I like Saquon, too.
OK, that’s 12-0 to start the season for the Rays, one win short of the best major league start since 1900. 12-0. I’ve pretty well decided they are legit.
With the exception of DeMar DeRozan’s little daughter, I find nothing compelling or remotely interesting about the NBA’s “play-in” carnival.