Conflicting Reports Emerge Regarding Raiders’ Interest in Available Star QB

lamar jackson

Getty Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson.

In an unprecedented move, the Baltimore Ravens have decided to allow quarterback Lamar Jackson to dip his toes in free agency. He was hit the non-exclusive franchise tag, which means if another team signs him, the Ravens get two first-round picks. The Ravens will also be able to match any offer that Jackson receives.

The former MVP is seeking a fully guaranteed contract but many teams aren’t interested in doing that. Owners were not happy when the Cleveland Browns gave Deshaun Watson a fully guaranteed deal last year and don’t want that to be the precedent. Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis has never been one to care much about how other owners in the league feel. However, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that it is “very unlikely” that the Raiders take a serious look at Jackson.

Bonsignore is a beat writer for the Raiders out in Las Vegas who is well-connected with the team but another insider contradicted his report. Dianna Russini of ESPN is now reporting that the Raiders have not ruled out the idea of adding Jackson to the team.

Russini’s report doesn’t say that Las Vegas will pursue the quarterback but it is notable that they wouldn’t rule out adding him.

Raiders Likely Can’t Add Jackson

The problem with a team signing Jackson is that they’d have to give up two first-round picks while also giving him $200+ million in contract guarantees. As Tashan Reed of The Athletic explained, when a team gives players guaranteed money, they have to have that cash on hand and place it in an escrow account.

Mark Davis has certainly helped his net worth since moving to Las Vegas but not many people have $200 million in cash on hand. It’s possible that Jackson could want even more than that. Plus, there are other players the team needs to sign and give guaranteed money. It’s difficult to know exactly how much cash Davis could have. It’s possible he’d have enough to pay Jackson but does he want to spend all that money at once? There’s no doubt adding Jackson would make the Raiders one of the most interesting teams in the NFL next season, which only helps the team make money. Could be a worthwhile move if Davis can get the necessary cash together.

Will Raiders Actually Consider Jackson?

At the very least, the Raiders should absolutely do their homework on Jackson and even meet with him. He was a unanimous MVP in 2020 and is still just 26 years old. He’s a big name that would help generate a ton of buzz around the Raiders. Last season, Allegiant Stadium was flooded with fans of opposing teams. The way to get Raiders fans in the seats is to get them excited. Jackson would do that and likely attract many people to start rooting for the team.

That said, it appears that the quarterback will eventually end up back in Baltimore. Opposing teams won’t want to help the Ravens out by putting in a contract offer that the quarterback accepts just for them to match it and sign him. If Jackson makes it clear that he does not want to return to Baltimore, then things could get much more interesting but unless that happens, it looks like teams aren’t going to seriously pursue the quarterback.

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