Not long after the Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson, the Carolina Panthers were one of several teams who made it clear they would not pursue the star quarterback.
The NFL world learned why on Friday, when the Panthers pulled off a blockbuster trade to land the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft from the Chicago Bears. That will give them their choice of the top signal-callers in the draft class.
But given how much the Panthers gave up for the rights to that pick — a haul that included two future first-round selections and wide receiver D.J. Moore — some around the NFL are wondering why they didn’t choose to pursue Jackson instead.
Former NFL quarterback turned ESPN analyst Robert Griffin III pointed out that the Panthers would not have had to give up Moore or as much draft capital if they were to sign Jackson. (Should the Ravens let Jackson sign with another team, they would receive two first-round picks as compensation.)
You would think the Carolina Panthers would AT LEAST explore a deal with a Unanimous MVP who is 26 years old and 45-16 as a starter before they traded so many assets to get the #1 pick. Could have potentially gotten Lamar Jackson, kept DJ Moore and some of those draft picks.
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) March 11, 2023
“You would think the Carolina Panthers would AT LEAST explore a deal with a Unanimous MVP who is 26 years old and 45-16 as a starter before they traded so many assets to get the #1 pick,” Griffin tweeted. “Could have potentially gotten Lamar Jackson, kept DJ Moore and some of those draft picks.”
Shehan Jeyarajah of CBS Sports expressed a similar sentiment.
“Just realized that the Panthers could have just signed NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and could have saved two second round picks and a borderline Pro Bowl receiver and decided they didn’t feel like it!” Jeyarajah wrote.
Just realized that the Panthers could have just signed NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and could have saved two second round picks and a borderline Pro Bowl receiver and decided they didn’t feel like it!
— Shehan Jeyarajah (@ShehanJeyarajah) March 10, 2023
While the points from Griffin and Jeyarajah are well taken, the situation isn’t quite as simple as comparing draft capital. For one thing, signing Jackson would likely take a contract that offers around $200 million guaranteed, limiting the ability to build around him.
Plus, as pointed out by one anonymous NFL executive on Friday, the Ravens can, and likely would, match any deal another team offers Jackson. And they would have five days to do so, meaning the Panthers, or any team that made an offer to Jackson, would remain in limbo while waiting for a decision from Baltimore.
NFL teams also can’t contact Jackson until Wednesday at the earliest. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported Saturday that it would make sense for interested teams to wait a while, possibly as late as May, before trying to negotiate with Jackson.
Ultimately, Fowler predicted that no other NFL team will make an offer to Jackson this offseason.
If one does, we know it won’t be the Panthers.
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Publish Date:2023-03-12 04:24:42