Three Teams That Could Trade For Lamar Jackson After Ravens Choose to Use Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag

Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson / G Fiume/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens were unable to reach a long-term agreement with Lamar Jackson today and so they placed a franchise tag on the former NFL MVP. Note that I did not say the franchise tag. In a pretty shocking move even if it was telegraphed beforehand, Baltimore chose to apply the "non-exclusive" franchise tag to Jackson. That's different from a normal franchise tag because the normal tag gives the player two choices -- play for the team that tagged them or don't play at all. The franchise tag the Ravens used on Jackson means he can go out and negotiate with other teams. The Ravens would then have the right to match the contract or let Jackson walk and receive two first-round picks from the team he signs with.

In short, the use of this tag tells the league that the Ravens are open for business. As crazy as it seems, Jackson might get traded.

Now any team that wants Jackson can at least check in and see what he is looking for in a contract. The Ravens can get the guaranteed two first-round picks from any interested suitor if they let Jackson walk, or they can agree to a sign-and-trade that would allow the two sides to execute a standard transaction without the two first-rounder requirement.

To this point, any Jackson trade was just a theory, but it's real now. It still may not happen; this could just be a negotiating tactic by the Ravens to prove to Jackson that nobody else will give him what he's asking for. But a trade is a stronger possibility than ever, as evidenced by the Falcons already leaking they were not interested.

Atlanta was one of the three teams we suggested should trade for Jackson last month. The Lions still make perfect sense, as do the Bears to some extent. But what other teams could try and strike a deal with Jackson now that the gates have opened?

New York Jets

The Jets are meeting with Aaron Rodgers but only Rodgers knows what the hell he's gonna do, so you can't really bank on him right now. Even if the Jets knew what Rodgers was going to do, they should still consider Jackson. He's a younger option who will likely cost the same in draft capital and won't string along retirement narratives every offseason. Everyone knows why the Jets need a quarterback. It's time to make it happen and for our money Jackson is a better bet.

Washington Commanders

There is so much going on with Dan Snyder and the Commanders that it seems unwise to predict if they'll make any big waves until his situation gets resolved. On the other hand... wouldn't it be typical of Snyder (from what we know) to give Jackson a hilariously big, fully-guaranteed deal before selling the team? A final f-you to the other NFL owners who are now turning on him?

With all due respect to Sam Howell, It's not like the Commanders have their franchise quarterback in the building already. If the team was not a constant dumpster fire it would be at the top of any list like this because it has the assets and the need. We discount the Commanders because they're such a mess they couldn't even get the people necessary in the same room to make a deal. Here, we won't do that. The Commanders make more sense as a Jackson trade partner than almost anybody. Don't rule them out.

Carolina Panthers

If the Falcons aren't gonna pull this off, why not their division rivals? Carolina is obviously familiar with the "trade for a quarterback" game and Jackson is far better than any of the guys they've brought in over the last two years. David Tepper is an extremely wealthy man who desperately wants his team to be good, so finances shouldn't be an issue. The Panthers might even be able to pull this off for just the No. 7 pick in this year's draft and a few additional pieces instead of two firsts. There's a lot going for them here. They can either draft a quarterback in the top 10 and cross their fingers that he'll one day win MVP or they trade for the guy who has already won one. Seems like an easy decision as long as Baltimore is willing to tango.