More than one year on from the start of negotiations, former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson still does not have a long-term contract with the Baltimore Ravens.
Baltimore signed Jackson to the Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag last week, which would allowed other NFL teams to negotiate with him. Though they would need to part with two first-round NFL Draft picks in order to complete a deal.
Thus far, there has been no market for Jackson, leading to suggestions of collusion among team owners. Though Jackson’s refusal to sign an agent probably hasn’t helped his cause.
NFL Agents Blast Lamar Jackson For His Handling Of Baltimore Ravens Contract Negotiations
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports recently spoke with a trio of agents across the league who feel that Jackson’s negotiating tactics and refusal to hire an agent of his own has hurt his cause.
“With Lamar, if they got to that $250 million deal over five years but it was only $130 million guaranteed, that’s their view of him,” one agent said. “At that point, the nuance would have been in the negotiating details. Can we cut off a year from the deal so he gets to free agency sooner? Can we get a no franchise tag and a no transition tag [clause]? We’re talking about mechanisms that allow him to make even more money and get to the market soon again. There’s always ways with an agent to skin a cat.
…But when it comes to how Lamar valued himself, what we think as his agent doesn’t mean a f***ing thing. What you think in the media doesn’t mean a f***ing thing. What other players think doesn’t mean a f***ing thing. A player values himself a certain way and sometimes that’s the only way he can see. Eventually, that’s what he’s being blinded by. Lamar doesn’t want other people’s opinions or perspectives on his value. He has made that clear for five years.” – via Yahoo Sports
Yet another agent felt that Jackson backed the Ravens into a corner, which led to a shutdown in contract talks.
“The last thing you want to do in a situation like this is back a team into a corner, where you’re so far apart that you’re basically just saying ‘no’ and asking them to negotiate against themselves. Owners aren’t going to react well to that. Especially if you’re repeatedly asking them to do that. And with players, their ego is important in negotiations. You never want them to feel like they’re eating a s*** sandwich during the process. It makes them feel bad about the negotiation and the job they did as players. There has to be some flexibility in the process.
NFL Agent Claims Lamar Jackson Would Have Had More Options Had He Hired An Agent
Jackson’s options beyond Baltimore seem limited at this point. But one agent that Robinson spoke to said that wouldn’t have been the case if he had hired an agent.
“You tamper,” one agent said. “You meet with as many teams as you can and you tamper like a motherf***er. The teams that need a quarterback and are interested will be like, ‘OK, what do we have to do? I’m all ears. Yes, we want him. Now what do we have to do?’ Really, that’s the key [with Jackson’s non-exclusive tag]. That’s where the problem is created with not having an agent. All this stuff is back-channel deals getting done by people who know how to do it.
“You’d start with an overall group that is interested in Lamar, then that group gets smaller because some don’t want to do the contract, some don’t want to give up the trade compensation, and some the player doesn’t want to live in a certain place or play for a certain team. By the end of it, you have a smaller group that you know you can get something done with. Once he’s tagged, you’re already down the road.”
Jackson will get a deal done eventually. That will happen whether it’s in Baltimore or somewhere else. But it’s increasingly evident that he’s made the process more difficult on himself than it needed to be.