Mike Carlson/Getty Images

NFL Rumors: Lamar Jackson Linked to Titans; Vikings a 'Wild Card' for Execs

Adam Wells

As the Baltimore Ravens continue to wait for a resolution to Lamar Jackson's contract situation, there are potential options available to the former NFL MVP to sign an offer sheet.

Appearing on SportsCenter, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler noted there hasn't been a "firm" offer sheet presented to Jackson at this point but the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings could emerge as suitors:

"There's been no firm offer sheet for Lamar Jackson right now. He has not signed his franchise tag, so this all has to be hashed out and really the draft could be a good indicator for the league. Because if there's a team in the top 10 that can't get its passer, let's say they're going for Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud and can't get him. Maybe it's Indianapolis at No. 4 if they don't get their guy, they could pivot to Lamar Jackson and give up two first-round picks to acquire him. We just talked about the Jets. If for some reason the Aaron Rodgers trade would fall through--nobody expects that-- they could pivot to Jackson. And then when you talk about good fits, I asked some executives around the league what teams would make sense. They mention Tennessee, who just cleared some cap space. They have a new GM Ran Carthon, who's working on the roster. They could use a running quarterback; they have experience with that in the past. And even a wild card like Minnesota. Kirk Cousins has one year left on his contract if they want to reestablish their identity there."

The Ravens used the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson. It allows him to negotiate a contract with all 31 other teams, but Baltimore will have the opportunity to match any offer sheet he might receive.

If the Ravens declined to match an offer sheet, they would receive two first-round draft picks from the signing team. It's also possible the Ravens could negotiate a straight trade with another club, though that would require Jackson to sign the tag before a move could be made.

Now that free agency has started and teams have begun using their available cap space to sign players, it does potentially complicate contract talks for Jackson. The Ravens have already budgeted the non-exclusive tag value of $32.4 million into their cap for next season.

The only team that currently has at least $32.4 million in cap space available are the Chicago Bears. This doesn't necessarily prevent a deal because teams can always build a low-cap number into a contract for this season to fit Jackson in.

The Titans, who currently rank fourth in available cap space ($17.3 million), can easily create a lot of financial wiggle room. Trading or releasing Ryan Tannehill would save them $17.8 million in 2023.

Tannehill is a capable starting option for the Titans, but Jackson would raise their ceiling significantly and, at 26 years old, is a better long-term option.

The Vikings are in a much more difficult spot because they're already $1.8 million over the cap. They restructured Kirk Cousins' deal last week to clear $20 million in cap space, but it would cost them $48.8 million if they tried to move on from him this season.

Cousins is entering the final season of his deal, so the Vikings could be in the market for a quarterback next year. If they find a way to make the finances work with Jackson, it could be in their interest to see if there's any deal to be made.

Jackson recently tweeted he turned down a three-year, $133 million contract that was fully guaranteed. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo (h/t NFL.com's Kevin Patra) noted that the offer was part of a more extensive five-year offer from the Ravens that included other non-guaranteed money.

It would seem based on how free agency has played out thus far that Jackson is most likely returning to the Ravens in 2023, but until he officially puts pen to paper on either the franchise tag or a long-term deal, opposing teams have a chance to add the two-time Pro Bowler.


Read 0 Comments

Download the app for comments Get the B/R app to join the conversation

Install the App
Bleacher Report