Latest Lamar Jackson twist should put Commanders on high alert

(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) Lamar Jackson
(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) Lamar Jackson /

Another twist in the ongoing saga involving quarterback Lamar Jackson should put the Washington Commanders on high alert.

Even though the Washington Commanders plan to give Sam Howell every opportunity to become the team’s starting quarterback, nothing was guaranteed. Head coach Ron Rivera stated as much during his media availability at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, which puts the onus squarely on the former fifth-round pick in pursuit of earning a prominent role next season.

The Commanders are currently exploring all options. Acquiring another promising signal-caller via the NFL Draft is a possibility, with the prospect of a savvy veteran joining in free agency to compete with or mentor Howell something else that will be strongly discussed.

However, there is a bolder avenue to pursue. One that would send shockwaves across the league.

Commanders should watch Lamar Jackson’s situation with interest

Lamar Jackson‘s situation with the Baltimore Ravens doesn’t seem to be getting better anytime soon. And with the franchise tag deadline approaching quickly, those in power have a monumental decision to make regarding their former NFL MVP.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, there is a widespread belief around the NFL that the Ravens will place the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson. This allows the player to speak with other teams and could move on if Baltimore doesn’t match any offer that comes into the Louisville product’s lap.

"“Baltimore has had a challenging time negotiating with Jackson, so this allows him to shop his own services and bring an offer to the Ravens, taking out the guesswork and the haggling over guaranteed money. And transferring the work to Jackson and other teams helps Baltimore maintain neutrality in any potential breakup. The flip side is the lower tag could damage goodwill with Jackson at a sensitive time, and the Ravens can’t control any potential trade for a bigger price than two first-rounders.”"

Considering how desperate the Commanders are for a true franchise player at the position, they’d be foolish not to examine the prospect. They can make cap space readily available in pursuit of offering Jackson a tempting deal, which will be in the same ballpark as the $250 million fully guaranteed that the Cleveland Browns gave Deshaun Watson to secure his services in 2022.

While this is an extortionate figure, slotting Jackson into the Commanders’ offense comes with undeniable potential. The presence of Eric Bieniemy leading the charge only adds further intrigue.

Imagine what Bieniemy could do with someone like Jackson. Couple this with prolific options at the skill positions and the prospect of a much-improved offensive line, and Washington could be among the favorites to emerge from the NFC next season.

Giving up two first-round selections is larceny for an elite-level quarterback entering his prime. This is also a big market for Jackson and with the potential for new ownership coming into the fold soon, it could be the marquee splash they’re looking for right out of the gate.

Jackson won’t be short of suitors if he does get the non-exclusive tag. But it doesn’t appear to be the smartest move from Baltimore’s standpoint given the leverage they would lose.

With that being said, the Ravens could be losing patience with Jackson no matter how important he is to them. Given the timeframe, it won’t be much longer before we find out for sure.

And make no mistake, the Commanders should be watching with interest.

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