Multiple current and former NFL players, as well as well-known football media members have questioned why so many teams have been quick to announce that they are not interested in pursuing Lamar Jackson, with some also accusing franchises of colluding against the 26-year-old quarterback.
The Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson Tuesday, after the two sides were unable to agree to a long-term contract extension after two years of negotiations.
Following the start of free agency Jackson will now be allowed to talk to other teams and potentially sign an offer sheet that the Baltimore Ravens will have a week to match if they wish to retain his services. If they choose not to match the offer sheet the team will send Baltimore two first round draft picks in exchange for signing Jackson.
Quarterbacks of Jackson’s pedigree don’t often become available whether it is via trade or free agency as the former MVP is entering the prime of his career and is only set to get better.
This makes it even more surprising that multiple teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Commanders, Las Vegas Raiders, Carolina Panthers, and Miami Dolphins have all reportedly already announced that they have no interest in pursuing Jackson.
Lamar Jackson received the non-exclusive franchise tag today, which was followed by several quarterback needy teams saying they were not interested in the former MVP in his prime
Robert Griffin III (L) and JJ Watt (R) have questioned teams’ disinterest in the former MVP
In particular as all five of the teams are said to have questions going forward at the quarterback position, making their decisions even more questionable.
Former NFL stars Robert Griffin II, JJ Watt and Ryan Clark all questioned the motives behind the franchises’ decisions.
‘This Lamar Jackson disrespect is OUTRAGEOUS’ former NFL QB turned ESPN analyst Griffin III said.
‘Lamar Jackson is a Unanimous MVP, has led the NFL in Passing Touchdowns, is 26 years old, is 45-16 as a starter and All the QB needy teams are saying they aren’t interested. Don’t smell right to me.’
Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety turned ESPN analyst Clark also tweeted out: ‘We live in a world where Daniel Jones’ current salary is higher than Lamar Jackson’s.
‘So a former league MVP, 4th in overall wins since entering the league, entering his 5th year & the same age as incoming rookie Stetson Bennet is free to negotiate… but all these teams know before speaking to him that they’re good? Yea right there’s no collusion!’
Recently retired All-Pro defensive end JJ Watt also tweeted: ‘Why are all of these teams so publicly “out” on Lamar Jackson, an MVP winner in his prime at the most important position in the entire NFL?’
‘What am I missing here?’
Former Steeler turned CBS analyst Bryant McFadden chimed in: ‘The owners are making it a point to not allow another D. Watson type of contract,’
Former players were not the only ones who took to social media to voice their concerns about the way Jackson is being tweeted as current players also chimed in on the situation.
‘So you’re sitting here & trying to tell me there’s no NFL team that has interest to even try and negotiate a contract with Lamar Jackson ? It hurts a team none to have dialogue. This isn’t right,’ said safety Tony Jefferson who spent two different spells with the Ravens and most recently played for the New York Giants.
Chicago Bears safety Jaquan Brisker responded to a tweet on the matter by saying: ‘MVP lol… other Bruh got paid today and is trash fam.’
Much like Clark, Brisker was alluding to Daniel Jones as the ‘Bruh’ who got paid.
Several current and former players called out the situation around Jackson and NFL teams
The New York Giants agreed to a four-year, $160million contract with quarterback Jones on Tuesday.
According to ESPN, Jackson wants a fully guaranteed like the five-year, $230million one given to Deshaun Watson last year.
Watson was handed an 11-game suspension by the league after being accused of sexual misconduct by two dozen women, while he played for the Houston Texans.
Former and current players were not the only ones to note the oddity of teams being so quick to announce they were not interested in a such a talented player as Jackson.
NFL reporter Ari Meirov tweeted out: ‘All these teams making it known they won’t pursue Lamar Jackson is very odd.
‘Especially those teams who don’t have a QB1 on the roster. It doesn’t cost anything to talk to him.’
NFL insider Josina Anderson said: ‘The unprecedented rush for several teams to publicly say they’re not interested in QB Lamar Jackson may create more questions than make a statement?’
‘Hey @Lj_era8 keep your head up!’
NBC’s Pro Football Talk even posted a tweet on the matter stating: ‘NFL teams spend countless hours doing due diligence regarding every available player at every possible position. They turn over every rock. They look in every nook and cranny. And now a former league MVP is available to be had and they just say, “We’re good.” It reeks.’
As McFadden noted earlier many NFL owners including the owners of the Ravens have wanted to avoid handing out another fully guaranteed contract that the Cleveland Browns gave to Deshaun Watson last offseason.
Jackson has pushed for the fully guaranteed deal, seeing it as a new precedent and the NFL PA has encouraged him to do so as well.
The NFL PA is also said to be keeping a close eye on how Jackson’s contract plays out as they too are said to be worried about collision against him.
‘Regarding this: spoke with sources at NFLPA and they’re keeping a very close eye on the Lamar situation for that very reason,’ Trey Wingo tweeted about possible collusion. ‘Regarding the C word “there’s constant concern about that”.’
Several noted NFL reporters also called out the apparent collusion, while the NFLPA is said to be monitoring Jackson’s contract situation closely