Lamar Jackson rumors: What franchise tag news means for Falcons

Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

UPDATE: The Falcons will not be pursuing Lamar Jackson, per ESPN’s Dianni Russini.

The Lamar Jackson saga rages on with rumors of a Ravens-Falcons trade getting louder….

Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers are two quarterback dominoes who could fall quickly as trade talks heat up this offseason. While Rodgers is getting courted by the New York Jets, Jackson remains somewhat of a prisoner in Baltimore, unable to secure the long-term extension that he wants.

Earlier this offseason, it was reported that Jackson and the Ravens were as much as $100 million apart in contract negotiations with Jackson presumably aiming for a fully guaranteed deal like what the Cleveland Browns gave to Deshaun Watson.

On Tuesday, the Ravens officially placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, allowing other teams to negotiate a deal with the star quarterback. If Jackson accepts the deal, Baltimore would receive two first-rounders in return.

A new report from Heavy’s Matt Lombardo only further reinforces the possibility of a trade: the Ravens have reportedly had serious conversations about a Lamar Jackson deal with the Atlanta Falcons, and talks of a potential trade have “progressed tremendously in Indianapolis.”

A potential Lamar Jackson-Atlanta Falcons trade gets more traction after recent Ravens report

Using the non-exclusive tag all but bodes the end of the Lamar Jackson era in Baltimore — the Ravens would use the exclusive tag if they really wanted to keep Jackson on the team. Going down the non-exclusive route could be seen as the more desirable way to rebuild, and any willing suitor may be emboldened by the fact that Baltimore’s front office loves stockpiling draft picks.

The Falcons arguably rank as Jackson’s top destination if he leaves Baltimore given Atlanta’s run-centric offensive scheme and young weapons in Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and others. Just a day after the New Orleans Saints got their starter in Derek Carr, the Falcons getting Jackson would make them a legitimate contender in the NFC South with Carr and Jackson dueling it out twice a year.

Will he stay loyal to Baltimore or accept a franchise-altering deal in Atlanta? Lamar Jackson’s future has never been more uncertain in this tumultuous week.

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