Stephen A. Smith: The Way the Ravens Are Treating Lamar Jackson is 'Insulting'

Ravens / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

Lamar Jackson received the non-exclusive franchise tag from the Baltimore Ravens yesterday. Since it is not exclusive that means Jackson can speak to other teams and negotiate. Even sign a contract, should he wish. The Ravens then get the right to match the contract or receive two first-round picks from the team that signed Jackson. There are two ways to read into why Baltimore would choose this version of the franchise tag-- either they want to let Jackson see what his market is for himself to help their negotiations move along, or they're open to the idea of letting their MVP quarterback walk as long as they get something in return.

Regardless of what the truth of that matter is, the Ravens are bearing the brunt of heavy criticism in the aftermath of their decision because nobody can really grasp how they let things get to this point. Jackson won MVP when he was 22 and is still only 26 years-old. He is just not the type of player you let get away and Baltimore has failed to negotiate a long-term deal over the span of two and a half years. Stephen A. Smith is very much in this camp and proclaimed the way the team has treated its superstar has been "insulting."

I mean, what Smith is saying could be true and if so would definitely be insulting to Jackson. If all he wants is *slightly* more than what the last guy got, then the Ravens should be lambasted for refusing to give him that. But there has been no solid reporting from ESPN or anybody else in recent weeks about contract offers made by Baltimore or Jackson. Before the season there were reports that Jackson turned down a $250 million extension offer but no details were provided in regards to how much guaranteed money was offered, which as we are learning is all that really matters.

So Smith is hammering the Ravens hard based on... what intel? It sure does not sound like he's reporting anything. He's just guessing that the Ravens aren't willing to give Jackson a market-setting deal rather than a league-altering deal in the vein of Deshaun Watson's?

We just don't know enough to make such declarations right now. But that hasn't stopped the sports media content machine from churning before, so it's safe to assume it will continue until a resolution for the situation arrives.