When Is Best Time to Start Rookie Quarterbacks in NFL?

The Carolina Panthers brought in an excellent insurance policy for whichever quarterback they draft first overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Andy Dalton is a proven winner, but his presence raises the question of when the Panthers should hand over the keys to their top pick. Former NFL coach and coordinator Marty Mornhinweg cites a few examples the Panthers might want to emulate.

2023 NFL Mock Draft 4.2: How Much Does Green Bay Get in Aaron Rodgers Trade?

2023 NFL Mock Draft 4.2: How Much Does Green Bay Get in Aaron Rodgers Trade?
There are four potentially franchise-altering quarterbacks available at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft, so expect teams to jump at the chance to trade up in the draft if the opportunity arises. The Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons are two teams that could look to move up, hopefully securing the future faces of their […]

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Free Agency

Lamar Jackson Putting Money Over ‘Perfect Place’ in Baltimore

The Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson, allowing the former league MVP to negotiate with other teams. However, there doesn’t appear to be much of a market for Jackson’s services. Former NFL coach Mike Martz explores why that might be the case and why Jackson is best suited to remain in Baltimore.

Let me start by saying this: Lamar Jackson is a unique NFL player. There isn’t anybody else like him in the entire league.

Which makes the quarterback’s current situation all the more bizarre and very difficult to understand. 

He looked like he was having fun with the Ravens, and the team believed in him and the entire city loved him. Jackson had it all in Baltimore, and I’m not sure he can see that. 

He was in a perfect place. Not every team is going to embrace him and his unique talents like Baltimore did, and right now, it appears he’s just looking out for dollars without seeing the bigger picture.

Isaac Bruce, one of the great wide receivers I had with the Rams, used to say he could have gotten more money all the time, but he went and signed early. I asked him why, and he said, ‘Coach, how much is enough? You have to know how much is enough for you and your family and not worry about what these other guys are getting.’ And he was right.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

Jackson’s environment with the Ravens is all about his future. That has gotten distorted and lost in his pursuit of this guaranteed money. 

That environment in Baltimore would let him continue to play at a high level. But if he leaves there, who’s to say his elite play will continue? I’m not certain of it. 

Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh had a plan when they drafted Jackson. They understood him, they liked him, wanted him and did everything for him in that environment, including building an offense around him to fit his skillset. With the other 31 teams, it wouldn’t be the same environment. Not even close. This isn’t plug and play.

If a team wants to sign him, he would have to fit what they do, and that team has to know how to use him. There are not a lot of offensive coordinators who are going to be familiar enough with his skillset. I know that sounds stupid, but it’s true, and here’s why: An offensive coordinator might need to change what he’s done throughout his career in order to work with Jackson and get the best out of him. Some might not know how to do that or simply not be willing to do it. 

It’s easy to come up with a quarterback’s place in the run game. That’s the easiest thing to do, especially with Jackson. Formation-wise, he allows you to run empty sets, which gives you a numbers advantage against opposing defenses.

As a passer, Jackson is just OK. He’s accurate. He’s got a strong arm, but he’s not a guy who will get you a quick read.

As a team that might be interested in signing him, you have to be careful. You have to study what you’re going to do with him and have everything in place to pull the trigger on a deal like that. There aren’t many teams in the league willing to do that. Remember, almost the entire league passed on him in the 2018 draft when he was taken with the last pick in the first round, and it wasn’t because he didn’t have talent.

Jackson isn’t like Aaron Rodgers or some of the great ones in the past where you could put them on any team and they’d still be great players. You have to be careful about signing a player like Jackson. You have to have a great offensive line, great personnel and a great plan to help him. And the Ravens have all of that in place. That’s a unique situation in Baltimore. Most teams aren’t prepared to take that on. 

For Jackson to go to a team like the Los Angeles Chargers, for example, would be a waste of time. They don’t have the offensive line to support him. They’re not geared toward what he does best. And just because he’s a great player, his skillset doesn’t always match what teams want to do. I know that sounds silly, but any team to sign him would have to fundamentally change everything they do on offense, from personnel to playbook.

Sometimes the grass appears greener on the other side. In Jackson’s case, I don’t think there’s any question Baltimore is where he should be. That’s where he should stay, because it’s the best situation where he can continue to be successful.

Mike Martz is a former NFL head coach and offensive coordinator, most notably for the St. Louis Rams. He was the OC for the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” offense in 1999 when they won Super Bowl XXXIV. As head coach, he led the Rams to two division titles, and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVI.


Lamar Jackson Lacks Sensible Suitor, Could Return to Ravens

When the new league year started on Wednesday, Lamar Jackson was free to negotiate a new contract with every NFL team after the Baltimore Ravens place the non-exclusive franchise tag on him. Ari Meirov believes due to Jackson’s asking price, there isn’t a team that makes sense for him. Jackson could ultimately end up back with the Ravens if no opportunities appear.

>>READ Martz: Baltimore “Perfect Place” for Jackson

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