That’s a question many were asking last week when the NFL sent out a memo instructing all 32 teams not to conduct business with him because he’s not a NFLPA-certified agent. Francis was flagged after trying to negotiate on behalf of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who doesn’t have an agent but is working with multiple advisors.
The former MVP denied that was true, but he confirmed that Francis is his business partner and the inventor of the home-fitness equipment system known as Entire Gym. As news broke about the league’s warning against Francis, Jackson used the moment to promote Entire Gym, which will be out this summer. The spontaneous advertisement was a bizarre twist in the ongoing saga of where Jackson will play next season, as he pursues aguaranteed contract, or at least what he believes is his market value.
Jackson may not need a trade to join a new team. The nonexclusive franchise tag allows him to negotiate with other clubs. However, it also gives Baltimore a chance to match any agreement he makes. The decision to make the trade request public may be an attempt to deter the Ravens from matching another team’s offer — or an attempt to spur more interest among other teams by declaring that he wants out of Baltimore.
If Jackson makes a deal with another team and the Ravens don’t match, that team would owe Baltimore two first-round draft picks.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh spoke extensively about Jackson on Monday at the league’s owners meetings in Phoenix.
“I haven’t seen the tweet. That’s an ongoing process,” Harbaugh said. “I’m following it very closely, just like everybody else is here, and looking forward to a resolution. I’m excited, thinking about Lamar all the time, thinking about him as our quarterback. We’re building our offense around that idea.”
Jackson was the 2019 NFL MVP. His passing and running ability make him one of the game’s biggest stars. At age 25, he already is one of six quarterbacks in NFL history with 10,000 yards passing and 4,000 rushing.
Jackson has been hurt at the end of the past two seasons, and the Ravens haven’t reached the AFC championship game with him. If he remains with Baltimore, he’ll have a new coordinator. The Ravens hired Georgia’s Todd Monken for that position after the end of last season.
Harbaugh said he anticipates Jackson being Baltimore’s quarterback at the start of next season.
“You’ve got to plan for all the contingencies for sure,” Harbaugh said. “But I’m pretty fired up about Lamar Jackson. I mean, Lamar Jackson is a great player. Lamar came back in great shape last year. He’s fired up to play. That’s the Lamar that I’m looking forward to seeing. Can’t wait to get back on the grass and go to work, and I’m confident that’s going to happen.”
Harbaugh said the Ravens are preparing as if Jackson will be their quarterback moving forward. Even though Jackson has requested a trade, it doesn’t mean a trade will happen. Asked if he anticipates Jackson will be his starter Week 1, Harbaugh said, “I do.”
“I’m following it very closely, just like everybody else is here and looking forward to a resolution,” Harbaugh said. “I’m excited, thinking about Lamar all the time. Thinking about him as our quarterback. We’re building our offense around that idea.”
“No, you know, it’s not that time right now,” he said. “It’s kind of contract time. I don’t think it’s kind of a time as a coach I need to or he wants me to. I think he just wants to focus on this part of it. I’ve left it open. If he needs me, I’m here for him.”
Harbaugh went on to tell Pelissero that he is positive about Jackson and the Baltimore brass involved in the process and feels “good about where it’s gonna go.”
“I know one thing,” he said. “If he’s lining up there in the purple and black, he’s gonna be all in. And I’m gonna be all in with him. So, let’s just see what happens.”
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