- Significant signing bonus (that's guaranteed money in hand that get's spread out over time)
- Year 1- base salary significantly lower than future years (cap will go up and we will likely have more space)
- Year 1- a very hefty bonus for the team making the playoffs (I'm talking $25-30 million)
Lamar Jackson isn't really a free agent. Everyone who is acting like he is and that no teams are interested in him is either low IQ, disingenuous, or both. At the end of the season the Ravens had three choices: let Lamar become a free agent, place the exclusive franchise on him, or place the non-exclusive franchise tag on him. The Ravens opted for the latter. While this option does allow teams to talk numbers with Lamar, it also allows the Ravens to match the offers. In other words, if Lamar was willing to play for any teams other than the Ravens for less, the Ravens could prevent that from happening.
At this point I'm pretty certain that Lamar is not interested in staying in Baltimore long term. While things didn't look too promising for that relationship in August, the fact that the Ravens chose the non-exclusive franchise tag was probably the nail in the coffin. While the exclusive franchise tag number isn't official yet, in early March Spotrac estimated it to be north of $45 million. Since the Ravens didn't go that route, he is currently on track to earn just over $32 million. So, while it looks like the Ravens are in good faith allowing Lamar to "test the waters", it is coming at a $13 million dollar savings to the team.
With all that being said, how can the Patriots make a deal which is both good for them and Lamar, but also out of reach for the Ravens to match? While I'm not going to make up some numbers, I'm going to lay down a concept. So if anyone wants to share this with Lamar, his mom, Meek Mill, Belichick, Kraft, etc. please get on it stat.
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