A 12 months in the past, when the Green Bay Packers have been watching their crossroads with Aaron Rodgers, the deadlock was supposedly about the whole lot however his contract.
Rodgers wished extra communication with the entrance workplace, extra inclusion within the workforce’s planning and extra respect for the core veterans who constructed the tradition. All of that, plus one gargantuan aspect merchandise for the league’s reigning MVP: A reworked contract that made him Green Bay’s unquestioned starter by way of not less than the 2023 season and the excellence of being the best paid participant within the NFL. When it was throughout, the ultimate tally was simple.
Whatever short-term guarantees the Packers’ entrance workplace couldn’t assure received resolved with flying colours by the long-term assured cash.
This is the method that may resolve the deadlock between Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Write it down. Laminate it. Revisit it in weeks, months, years, nevertheless lengthy it takes for the inevitable quantity to be reached. That’s what this was about final September. It’s what it’s about now. And it’s what will probably be about if Jackson in the end performs the 2023 season below a franchise tag. Focusing it by way of anything is a shell recreation that strikes across the similar challenge.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (left) stated Thursday: “One hundred p.c — you recognize, 200 p.c. There’s no query about it. Lamar Jackson is our quarterback.” (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
That ought to have been the takeaway in Thursday’s information convention, when Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and basic supervisor Eric DeCosta reaffirmed the identical factor they’ve been saying because the begin of this negotiation: They need Jackson because the Ravens’ long-term beginning quarterback; they wish to get a deal achieved; they usually aren’t in a rush to publicly element why that is all taking so lengthy.
Somehow, all of that was handled as a revelatory information merchandise, regardless of it being the precise stance the group has been in because the second negotiations started. How certain is the workforce that Jackson is the long run at quarterback? Well, permit Harbaugh to tack on some rhetoric to drive the purpose dwelling once more.
“One hundred p.c — you recognize, 200 p.c,” Harbaugh stated Thursday. “There’s no query about it. Lamar Jackson is our quarterback. He’s been our quarterback. Everything we’ve achieved by way of constructing our offense and constructing our workforce, how we expect by way of the individuals round him, is predicated on this unimaginable younger man and his expertise and his skill and his competitiveness.”
Yes, if you happen to’d forgotten the platitudes about onerous work and communication and optimism, there was no scarcity of them Thursday. Just as there was no scarcity of window dressing points, from Jackson having enter on the subsequent offensive coordinator, to the funding within the vast receiver depth chart, to the encompassing offensive items being poised to compete.
Surely, these are all good indicators in the case of the Ravens wanting Jackson again. But once more, the franchise has by no means stated it doesn’t need Jackson again. What the Ravens have stated — repeatedly — is that this can be a powerful negotiation in progress. That the 2 sides haven’t gotten a deal achieved. And that some contract talks are harder and time consuming than others.
Thursday was actually a one-sentence information convention that would have ended with DeCosta’s first line about his confidence in getting Jackson’s extension achieved: “It actually takes two to tango.”
Right there. That’s it. That’s the message that that is in the identical place it has been from the beginning, with two sides watching one another and attempting to determine the exact contract quantity and set of ensures that retains Jackson within the fold long run.
The avenues to resolving this are so simple as they have been in August. Baltimore can meet Jackson on the whole assured cash that he’s searching for or Jackson can soften his stance on how shut he involves a totally assured deal. If neither occurs, Baltimore can search continued management of Jackson’s future with franchise tags and he can both go alongside for the trip or refuse and pressure a commerce.
This has at all times been the highway ahead, with numerous bridges to cross alongside the way in which. This week, negotiations decide up the place they left off. Next month, the window opens for the workforce to place both the unique franchise tag on Jackson (doubtlessly leading to a wage round $45 million) or a nonexclusive tag (projecting to be round $32.5 million). The unique tag would imply Jackson can negotiate solely with the Ravens. The nonexclusive tag would end in Jackson being allowed to barter a free-agent contract with different groups, then permitting Baltimore to match the deal or obtain two first-round draft picks in compensation.
That tag window opens Feb. 21 and extends to March 7. If the 2 sides don’t have an extension achieved by then, Jackson will completely be tagged. That is a foregone conclusion.
Once he’s tagged, the burden shifts to Jackson making a choice about what the transfer means and the way he responds. Would he decline to instantly signal an unique tag and stay away from the workforce all offseason? Likely sure. Would he negotiate a cope with one other workforce if he’s strapped with a nonexclusive franchise tag? Also, seemingly sure. Is this all coming to a significant crossroads? Absolutely.
One manner or one other, we’re going to learn the way insurmountable the hole is between Jackson and the Ravens. Either by way of using a particular tag or how Jackson responds within the face of it. The key out isn’t any larger a thriller than it was when the negotiations broke off final September.
This goes down the Rodgers highway. There can be loads of sideshows, resolutions and platitudes about what’s vital. The cash stays the primary attraction. Just prefer it at all times has been.