The Baltimore Ravens turned on their phone for business on Tuesday by signing Lamar Jackson to a non-exclusive franchise tag.
Will the Miami Dolphins call?
Bigger question: Will anone?
I’ve said and re-said from the start of this offseason the Dolphins should explore the market for Jackson or Aaron Rodgers to measure the cost in terms of dollars and draft picks. That’s just part of doing due diligence.
I’ve also written from the start the Dolphins don’t seem to have any interest – or enough capital to make a trade even if they wanted to do so.
That’s why I’ve also said Tua Tagovailoa should be expected to be the Dolphins starter next year, just as general manager Chris Grier and coach Mike McDaniel have said all along. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reported the Dolphins aren’t in the Jackson derby.
The franchise tag means Jackson gets $32 million next season from Baltimore (as of now). The starting point to trade for Jackson is two first-round picks and a mega-contract. Too much? Well, in real terms it’s not assuming his knee is fine form last year’s injury. In practical terms, though, the Dolphins don’t have a first-round pick to give this year like other teams.
Again: There are more practical places for Jackson to end up than with his hometown team. The logical places if Baltimore doesn’t match the offer from a team is Atlanta or Carolina. Both need quarterbacks and have the kind of offensive-minded coaches to make Jackson fit nicely. Each is in the NFC, too, meaning Baltimore would be more apt to send him there.
There are reports around Atlanta and Carolina, though, that they aren’t interested in Jackson.
Would the Jets be interested? Indianapolis? Hello, is anyone interested in a multiple league MVP?
Either they know something about his knee concerns or … there’s a backlash to Deshaun Watson breaking all guaranteed dollars with his contract to Cleveland. It smells of something fishy if no team is interested in Jackson.
As far as Aaron Rodgers, there were reports the Jets were to meet with him on Tuesday. The Jets are under big pressure to land him considering there’s no viable Option B if they aren’t interested in Jackson.. Zach Wilson, anyone?
2. Baltimore is playing this Jackson situation in the manner you’d expect one of the best-run franchises to do so. They’ve never said they’ll trade him, meaning teams have to come to them. They offered a big deal to Jackson before last season. They’re now betting that no other NFL owner wants to give the size of guaranteed money that Cleveland did for Deshaun Watson. We’ll see how this plays out for them. But they’re not scared of letting the most important player in their franchise test his price on the open market. Like …
3. The New York Giants caved on Daniel Jones if the initial reports of his contract are true. We’ll have to see what the guaranteed money is and how the deal is structured. The initial report is he got $82 million guaranteed in a four-year, $160-million deal. Ask this: What other team was going to give Jones that much money? He had a nice 2022. But is he a top 10 quarterback? He got Brian Daboll constructing the offense and looked decent. Jones shouldn’t have wanted to leave New Yok now that he’s got a good system. The Giants could have tagged him the next two years for a $42 million average and got more answers on him.
4. Part of the Giants thinking was surely to sign Jones and keep the franchise tag for running back Saquon Barkley. That means Barkley, the Raiders’ Josh Jacobs and Cowboys’ Tony Pollard were given the franchise tag and, thus, taken off the market. No big surprise there. But it means there’s no great running backs out there and the Dolphins should do what they did last year and not invest heavily at the positon. There’s plenty of good running backs out there.
5. The Cowboys’ tagging Pollard, as expected, means tight end Dalton Schultz is a free agent. If the Dolphins want to spend on a tight end, he’d be a good hope. He blocks as he’s the 14th rated run-blocking tight end, according to PFF (San Francisco’s George Kittle is rated 11th in the same system and loved by McDaniel).
Source: Berkshire mont
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