Lamar Jackson contract saga takes a strange turn
from Mike Santa Barbara, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com
As the stalemate over a new contract continues between the Baltimore Ravens and star quarterback Lamar Jackson, matters took an unexpected turn on Thursday.
The NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams warning them about negotiating with a mysterious person named Ken Francis, who may or may not be representing Jackson.
Here’s the full memo from the NFL Management Council warning teams not to negotiate with a man named Ken Francis about Lamar Jackson.
“Violation of this rule may result in disapproval of any Offer Sheet or resulting. Player Contract entered into by Mr. Jackson and the new Club.” pic.twitter.com/v0ibYCfl2J
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 23, 2023
Francis, whoever he might be, is not an NFLPA-certified agent, meaning flat-out that he cannot negotiate on Jackson’s behalf. Further, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, any NFL team found to have engaged in talks with Francis regarding an offer sheet or a potential trade would face a $54,409 fine.
Given that it is well known that Jackson does not have an agent — this has been the case since he entered the league — the sudden emergence of Francis, who no one seems to know, is curious. To quote Cosmo Kramer, “Frankly, it sounds made up.”
That’s not even the end of it. Another layer to the story emerged soon after the initial report, with NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero identifying Francis as a “Florida man” who recently pitched an at-home fitness invention.
Jackson wasted no time refuting Pelissero’s report on social media, though he neither confirmed nor denied knowing Francis.
Stop Lying that man never tried to negotiate for me ?? https://t.co/DIMXtxOAnR
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) March 23, 2023
There remains plenty to unravel in this case. Francis may not be working at the behest of Jackson. Or this could be a “Saint Omni” situation where a shady unknown character swoops in to negotiate deals for stars. Or this all could be something else entirely. Regardless, it stands as another wild development in the seemingly never-ending saga between Jackson and the Ravens which has developed this offseason.
While it appears that the two parties are heading for an eventual divorce, the Ravens did place the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson for the coming season. That opens the door for Jackson to negotiate with other teams on an offer sheet, which the Ravens would have five days to match.
Jackson’s contract demands are well known at this juncture, with guaranteed money perhaps standing as the factor that will ultimately decide whether the former MVP remains a Raven or finds himself in different colors in the fall.
There have been few positives reported regarding contract talks between the two sides, and recent comments from owner Steve Bisciotti and EVP Ozzie Newsome seem to indicate that they aren’t giving in to Jackson’s demands.