I’ve learned more about this non-exclusive franchise tag in the past 24 hours than I ever knew. I could definitely see teams go in this direction more in the future.
So the way I understand it, the Ravens could put the exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson for a bunch of money ($45 million) and he stays with them for a year, pretty concrete.
Instead they sign him to a non-exclusive franchise tag for less money ($32 million). A different team could make him an offer and if he likes it the Ravens have 5 days to match the offer. If they don’t, Jackson leaves and the Ravens get TWO first-round picks in compensation.
Draft picks…FIRST ROUND draft picks….are huge in the NFL. I can’t see a lot of situations where a team would be willing to pay more money AND lose two first-rounders. Sure, maybe a “just a QB away” team, but then you’ve gotta win immediately or sign the guy to a massive contract, but you’ve got no first-rounders to get skilled talent at a cheap, rookie deal price. Or maybe the Texans, who have a lot of draft picks. In some cases two first-rounders isn’t that bad if it gets you an already established top-level NFL QB.
Or…you do what the Ravens did and pay the guy less money than the franchise tag and basically dare another team to offer him higher. If they do, you get two first-rounders from them.
Plus there’s always the possibility at some point throughout the year they start getting along again and do work out a multi-year deal. Of course, Lamar could always hold out this year, not sure how that works with the Ravens holding his rights….but I still think it’s a good move for a team.