The Baltimore Ravens announced Tuesday that they were designating Lamar Jackson as their franchise player, preventing him from becoming an unrestricted free agent this month after the expiration of his rookie contract.

The deadline to apply the franchise tag was 4 p.m.. The Ravens were always expected to use the tag if they didn’t reach a long-term deal with Jackson first. The team and its star quarterback can continue negotiating now, although the nonexclusive tag means he can negotiate with other teams, too.

“There have been many instances across the league and in Baltimore when a player has been designated with the franchise tag and signed a long-term deal that same year,” GM Eric DeCosta said in a statement. “We will continue to negotiate in good faith with Lamar, and we are hopeful that we can strike a long-term deal that is fair to both Lamar and the Ravens. Our ultimate goal is to build a championship team with Lamar Jackson leading the way for many years to come.”

The Ravens would have a chance to match any agreement between Jackson and another team, and if they chose not to match, they’d receive two first-round draft picks in return. If Jackson plays this season on the franchise tag, he’d make $32.4 million.

Baltimore could have prevented Jackson from negotiating with anyone else by using the exclusive-rights franchise tag, but that could have cost significantly more.

The Dallas Cowboys used the exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott in 2020. A year later, they reached a long-term deal with him. Kirk Cousins is another quarterback who played on the franchise tag fairly recently. He did it his final two seasons in Washington before joining the Minnesota Vikings in 2018.


So now the saga between Jackson and the Ravens enters its next phase. Josh Allen, the other star quarterback drafted in 2018 with Jackson, signed a long-term deal with Buffalo two offseasons ago. Jackson, on the other hand, entered last season still without an extension. His contract status didn’t seem too disruptive last offseason — he participated in mandatory minicamp and training camp — but there’s no telling how the next few months will go.

There obviously is some risk involved with using the nonexclusive tag, especially for a player of Jackson’s caliber, but it could resolve this deadlock sooner. If Jackson is able to find a deal he likes from another team, the Ravens could either match it or take the draft picks and allow him to leave.

Jackson, who doesn’t have an agent, is one player who should pique the rest of the league’s interest, even at the cost of two first-round picks, and his availability to any degree could shake up NFL free agency, which opens later this month.

Jackson was the 2019 NFL MVP, and his dynamic passing and running make him one of the game’s most unusual stars. At age 25, he already is one of six quarterbacks in NFL history with 10,000 yards passing and 4,000 rushing. His 12 games with at least 100 yards rushing are an NFL record.

Jackson has been hurt at the end of the past two seasons, and the Ravens haven’t reached the AFC championship game with him, but his impact on their offense is massive. If he remains with Baltimore, he’ll have a new coordinator after the Ravens hired Georgia’s Todd Monken.

GIANTS: After days of intense, down-to-the wire negotiations, the New York Giants agreed to a four-year contract with quarterback Daniel Jones and put a franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley.


The Giants confirmed the deal with Jones Tuesday night. The agreement with his agents was reached with the franchise tag deadline minutes away.

With Jones under contract, the Giants used their franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley.

“We had productive conversations with Daniel and his representatives over the course of the past week or so,” General Manager Joe Schoen said. “We are all pleased that we were able to come to an agreement prior to today’s deadline. This gives us a greater ability to continue to build our roster.”

The long-term contract allows the Giants to sharply reduce Jones’ cap number in this and subsequent seasons.

“I said after the season I love this place,” said Jones, who turns 26 in May. “I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I want to be here. I have great respect for this organization, the (owners), my coaches and teammates. I am happy we were able to come to an agreement.”

Barkley’s tag is nonexclusive, which means he’s able to negotiate with other teams in addition to the Giants. New York would have the right to match any team’s offer and would receive two first-round draft picks if it decided not to match.


The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft and the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year that season would earn just over $10 million playing on the franchise tag.

The deals came after Jones delivered a career season, leading the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

The Giants had refused to pick up the fifth-year option on Jones’ rookie contract before the start of last season. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 15.

The No. 6 pick overall in the 2019 draft, Jones had a breakout season and led New York to a 9-7-1 record. Working with new coach Brian Daboll, Jones threw for 3,205 yards, 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also added another dimension to the offense by running for a quarterback franchise-record 708 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Giants had their first winning season since 2016 and beat Minnesota in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs. The Philadelphia Eagles thrashed them in the divisional round.

Signing Jones allowed the Giants to tag Barkley, who also was an unrestricted free agent. Barkley had his best and healthiest season since 2018, rushing for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also caught 57 passes for 338 yards.


The Giants had started the offseason with roughly $46 million in cap space. Safety and leading tackler Julian Love, offensive linemen Jon Feliciano and Nick Gates, receivers Darius Slayton and Richie James and long snapper Casey Kreiter are also set to become unrestricted free agents.

JETS: Owner Woody Johnson, General Manager Joe Douglas, Coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett flew out to meet with Aaron Rodgers in California, according to sources.

The Jets have reportedly already had direct conversations with the superstar quarterback this week, which would mean the Packers have given the Jets permission to speak with him since he remains under contract with Green Bay.

Rodgers, 39, has been contemplating his NFL future since the end of a disappointing 18th season in Green Bay. He could retire, return to the Packers or ask to be traded. He recently went on a darkness retreat in Oregon to find some clarity on where he would like to play next or if at all. On the “Aubrey Marcus podcast” last week, Rodgers said he would announce a decision on his future soon.

TELEVISION: Prime Video will give an early Christmas gift to football fans for the coming season: Amazon announced the Black Friday game on Nov. 24 will be available for all fans to stream for free.

The 2023 season will mark the first time the league has scheduled a game for the day after Thanksgiving. The teams for the 3 p.m. Eastern game will be announced later.


“It’s such an unusual day because so many people have it off work. So it’s really a unique opportunity to expose all fans to our broadcast,” Prime Video Vice President Jay Marine said.

The additional game gives Prime Video 16 regular-season games for the 2023 season, which will air from Weeks 2-17, as well as a preseason exhibition.

Prime Video has put some of its sports content in front of the paywall before, but for its international customers. It is a co-holder of the rights to the French Open tennis tournament in France and last year allowed everyone in that country access to the quarterfinal match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Last season marked the first year Prime Video was the exclusive carrier of “Thursday Night Football.” According to Nielsen figures, the 15-game package on Prime Video averaged 9.58 million viewers while Amazon’s first-party viewership measurement showed an average of 11.3 million.

FALCONS: Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter, who was second on the team with four sacks in 2022, will remain with Atlanta on a two-year deal, the team announced.

Carter started all 17 games last season and set a career high with 58 tackles. He had 12 quarterbacks hits, six tackles for losses, a fumble recovery and an interception returned for a touchdown.

BUCCANEERS: Veteran left tackle Donovan Smith was released by Tampa Bay in a cost-cutting move.

The durable 2015 second-round draft pick started 124 regular-season and seven playoff games over eight seasons with the Bucs, who entered the offseason more than $58 million dollars over the NFL salary cap.

Releasing Smith, who signed a two-year, $31.8 million contract extension in March 2021, creates about $9.95 million in cap space.

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