Rob Issa, FISM News
Lamar Jackson wants the Baltimore Ravens to trade him because of an ongoing contract dispute.
The 2019 NFL MVP announced Monday he requested a trade earlier this month. The Ravens placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on Jackson before the league’s free agency period, meaning he could negotiate with other teams but Baltimore retains the right to match an offer sheet.
Jackson hasn’t received any interest from other teams for several reasons. For one, a team that signs him would lose two first-round picks because of his franchise tag. Secondly, and perhaps the biggest issue, is his desire for a fully guaranteed contract.
“As of March 2nd I requested a trade from the Ravens organization for which the Ravens has not been interested in meeting my value,” Jackson said on Twitter. “Any and everyone that has met me or been around me know I love the game of football and my dream is to help a team win the super bowl.”
Jackson’s post came at the moment Ravens coach John Harbaugh sat down to speak with reporters at the NFL meetings in Phoenix.
“I’m following it very closely, just like everybody else is here, and looking forward to a resolution,” Harbaugh said. “I’m excited, thinking about Lamar all the time, thinking about him as our quarterback. We’re building our offense around that idea.”
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Only 25, Jackson is already one of six quarterbacks in NFL history with 10,000 yards passing and 4,000 yards rushing. He’s finished the past two seasons injured, missing 10 games total.
Jackson wants a fully guaranteed contract because Deshaun Watson got one last year. The Cleveland Browns signed Watson to a $230 million, five-year deal that was fully guaranteed despite his legal trouble for sexual misconduct.
Other teams were upset by Cleveland’s decision and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti openly criticized it, saying Watson didn’t deserve it.
No other player has received a fully guaranteed deal since Watson. That includes quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, Derek Carr, Daniel Jones, and Geno Smith who have lucrative deals with partial but significant guarantees.
Despite Jackson’s frustration, Harbaugh still expects him to be the team’s QB this season whether he plays for the $34.2 million, one-year franchise tag or gets a long-term deal.
“We made a decision to go with Lamar Jackson five years ago,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday at the NFL meetings soon after reporters informed him that Jackson revealed he asked for a trade on March 2.
Why? Because we love him. We love the way he plays. We love his mindset. We love his charisma, his style. The way he is in the locker room. Everything about him, we love him. I love him personally. I love being the coach of the team he’s playing for. That’s what you do. You build a team around your players, and that’s what I’m excited to do.
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith has suggested owners are colluding against Jackson because other teams have said they’re not interested in him.
“I have never witnessed teams being so quick to publicly announce their lack of interest in an MVP quarterback, who is in his prime and who is also going to get an injury guarantee, regardless of his contract,” Smith wrote on the union’s website. “The fact that right behind Jackson await quarterbacks like Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, and Justin Herbert, who have performed at extremely high levels under their rookie deals.
“A fully guaranteed contract in Jackson’s instance means that all quarterbacks on expiring rookie contracts will (and should anyway) demand them in the next cycle. Make no mistake, what is occurring right now is their effort to block the same cycle that ushered in fully guaranteed contracts in other sports.”