Why are the Carolina Panthers avoiding Lamar Jackson temptation?

(Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports) Lamar Jackson
(Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports) Lamar Jackson /

After some initial buzz, the Carolina Panthers are reportedly out of the Lamar Jackson sweepstakes. But what are the reasons behind it?

Social media was ablaze on Tuesday after the Baltimore Ravens announced they placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson. This allows the former NFL MVP a chance to speak with and get formal offers from other teams that his current employers can match.

Jackson is among the league’s best quarterbacks for a reason. But it didn’t take long for reports to surface about numerous teams being out of the running.

The Washington Commanders, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, and Las Vegas Raiders will go in different directions per various beat reporters. According to Joe Person of The Athletic, it appears as if the Carolina Panthers are also out despite their need for a true franchise player at the position.

Carolina Panthers reportedly out of the Lamar Jackson sweepstakes

Person is pretty plugged in when it comes to what’s going on behind the scenes in Carolina. Even if this does go against general manager Scott Fitterer’s in-on-every-deal mindset that’s been prevalent throughout his tenure.

This caused widespread dismay among fans who’ve become tired of mediocre quarterback play. Considering this would only cost two first-round picks if the money is right, the compensation shouldn’t be an issue for someone that can win any game on his own.

So, what’s the problem here?

First, it’s the money. Jackson is looking for a fully guaranteed deal in the Deshaun Watson range of $250 million. This was the tipping point for team owner David Tepper after going all-in for the former Clemson star despite the numerous sexual misconduct allegations hanging over the player.

Teams coming out almost immediately to declare their lack of interest isn’t all that surprising. Owners talk, and they don’t want to continue the dangerous precedent set by the Browns when it came to fully guaranteed contracts – no matter how good the player might be.

Call it collusion, call it unity. But all that matters to those at the very top is their bottom line.

Make no mistake, this won’t be going unnoticed by the NFLPA.

Next would be fit. Frank Reich is now running the offense and normally likes a more stereotypical pocket passer within his scheme. However, Jackson’s passing ability is criminally underrated and makes teams hesitant when there really is no need to be.

With that being said, the Panthers reportedly feel like he’s not a system fit. This is despite the Louisville product having every single athletic intangible to fit within any creative scheme with ease.

Perhaps it has something to do with the compensation? Although moving up from No. 9 overall to No. 1 or No. 3 in the 2023 NFL Draft is arguably going to cost more than the two first-rounders it would take to bring a high-caliber, elite performer into the organization – something they’ve been sorely lacking since Cam Newton took the league by storm

This could mean the Panthers have reached a general consensus on which quarterback prospect they want to draft. Maybe it’s just all smoke and mirrors. Maybe it’s the NFL owners linking hands to ensure they save their money.

Either way, Jackson’s options look extremely limited based on reports. So a return to Baltimore might be the best he can attain unless there is a drastic change of thought process.

For an All-Pro, NFL MVP that’s accomplished a significant amount in such a short space of time, that’s a sad state of affairs.

Must Read. Ranking the top-five QB prospects the Carolina Panthers could draft in 2023. light