One year ago this week, two grand juries in Texas declined to indict Deshaun Watson on any charges related to multiple women who alleged that Watson sexually assaulted or sexually assaulted them while they were then- The Houston Texans were trying to massage the quarterback.
As soon as Watson came out in the clear of the offender, several teams – the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints – jumped at the chance to trade for Watson and sign him, who at the time had not been through the entire season. Played and was 28 years old. -25 as the Texans’ starter with one playoff win.
The Cleveland Browns outbid everyone else, signing Watson to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract and sending three first-round draft picks to Houston.
And yet here we are, 12 months later and two of the three teams that were in hot pursuit of Watson are still without a long-term quarterback, telling reporters including Yahoo! Sports’ Jory Epstein, that they’re out on Lamar Jackson. This came hours after the Baltimore Ravens placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on the QB, allowing any other team to make an offer and potentially sign him if the Ravens do not match.
When Jackson was 23, he was the NFL’s second consensus MVP. His Ravens have won 45 of his 61 career starts. He celebrated his 26th birthday eight weeks ago and by all accounts is a pillar of his South Florida neighborhood and Baltimore. He can be acquired for two first-round picks, not the three Houston sought, and he has not been accused of misconduct by more than two dozen women. Still… he’s not appealing to these QB-desperate teams, but was Watson?
You’ll forgive us if we don’t believe them.
Current and former players also feel that something is wrong. jj watt, Robert Griffin III, tyrann matthew, Jaquan Brisker And quandar digs Among those who were skeptical of reports that teams want quarterbacks that Jackson does not want, Diggs used the word collusion in his tweet and Matthews said that no one was questioning Jackson’s ability. not done To play defense against him.
You’ll understand that if we even smell a little collusion in the air, it all smells like fresh Rottweilers being sprayed by a skunk (don’t ask how I know this).
Shortly after the details of Watson’s megadeal came to light last March, Ravens team owner Steve Bisciotti went on record to express his displeasure with it, and that communicate Tough with other quarterbacks.
Bisciotti and the Ravens could sign Jackson to an extension in 2021 after his third season. That was long before the Browns’ contract with Watson was out, so now that he’s in this messy situation — assuming he doesn’t want to be — it’s his own fault. Plus, the price is never too low for players, especially quarterbacks. Fellow 2018 first-round draft pick Josh Allen signed a six-year extension with the Buffalo Bills in 2021 that includes $150 million in guaranteed money and a maximum of $258 million. Jackson and Baltimore could have done something similar and didn’t, and now the price has only gone up.
Jackson has been plagued by injuries in the past two seasons. It’s also worth noting that the Ravens were top-third in the league in man-games lost to injury in 2022 and third-most lost in the league since 2009, and tied for the third-most points in an NFL Players Association survey. On the graded strengths of players coach Steve Saunders an F-loanFar and away the worst in the league. It’s probably not a coincidence that Saunders was fired last month.
(This is where we’ll pause to reiterate that while this admirable Jackson is representing himself, it’s time for him to get an agent or even a lawyer who will bring Team Brass to the negotiating table.) could have fought with, he has long passed. .)
Bisciotti and other team owners are apparently still angry that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam broke ranks to guarantee Watson’s deal. Lamar Jackson’s problem is not now, never was, and never will be.
If he told Bisciotti and general manager Eric DeCosta that, as a league MVP who is more talented than Watson without any baggage, he deserves the same deal, if not a little better, then he is 100% right. .
If the owner is salty with Varg Haslam, don’t invite him to whatever ridiculous Michelin-chef-catered-yacht-party-in-St-Tropez for April and stop taking it out on Jackson and the other players.
Of course, this was all to be expected: The writing has been on the wall for a long time, but if last week’s NFLPA player survey showed us anything, it’s that a small number of these team owners actually don’t care about winning. At least not on the field. They care about their money, period.
There is nothing in the collective bargaining agreement that says that every contract cannot be fully guaranteed. The team owners refuse to let it happen, and it looks like they will do everything they can to make sure that doesn’t become the norm. There’s also nothing stopping them from eliminating the current rule that requires teams to put all guaranteed contract amounts in cash into an escrow account (though frame The Kansas City Chiefs’ contract with Patrick Mahomes shows there are ways around that). They will not end the practice because it will open the door for franchise owners who are more cash-strapped to do more deals like the one Watson received.
And one deserves Jackson.