The NFL QB Plot Continues to Thicken Ahead of Free Agency

The NFL QB Plot Continues to Thicken Ahead of Free Agency
Aug 27, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) stands on the sidelines durning the first quarter against the Washington Commanders at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The quarterback position in the NFL has been a massive point of discussion to this point in the offseason, and for good reason. There continues to be rumors swirling around the league of trades, players leaving teams in free agency, and others asking for massive contracts.

With free agency now just over a week away, the NFL QB plot continues to thicken after Derek Carr signed with the Saints on Monday. Two big names are at the forefront of the latest contract news: Daniel Jones and Lamar Jackson.

The Latest Daniel Jones Contract News Should Worry Vikings Fans
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) runs off the field after winning a wild card game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Firstly, Jones received a massive deal that will keep him with the New York Giants for the next four seasons. This contract, as reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, is worth $160 million with another $35 million in incentives available. A later report from Ian Rapoport also suggested that it will have $94 million in guaranteed money.

The other news is much more prominent at this point in time, though. As expected, the Baltimore Ravens announced on Tuesday that they would be putting Lamar Jackson on the franchise tag. The unexpected part, though, is that they are using the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson.

The non-exclusive tag is worth $32 million, allows other teams to offer Jackson contracts while Baltimore is allowed to match those deals, and perhaps most importantly, means the Ravens will get two first-round picks if they opt not to match an offered contract.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

This essentially means if a team wants Jackson, it could be as simple as this:

  • Pay him $40 million per year
  • Trade two first-round picks

That seems like a very reasonable price tag for a former MVP that just turned 26 years old. Of course, the big hang up for a few of these teams could be Jackson’s injury history, especially in recent years. Jackson missed five games in both 2021 and 2022 with injury.

Another option could be an anti-climactic one: the Ravens are simply letting the market decide how much Jackson truly is worth. They might let other teams go through the bidding war, deciding how much the QB is worth to them. At the end of the day, though, Baltimore still has the capability of matching any contract that he gets offered. They can still exercise that right and lock him up long-term if that is what they want to do.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

As for the Minnesota Vikings, though, they are still in limbo regarding their decision with starting QB Kirk Cousins. As more of these quarterbacks continue to sign contracts, it will set the market for their own starter.

Cousins is entering the final year of his contract in 2023, and if he doesn’t get a new contract from Minnesota, he will hit free agency next offseason. These contracts could determine how much money the 35-year-old QB wants, and how willing the Vikings will be to keep him around for years to come.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.