What do you give the man who has everything? Typically, the answer is an NFL franchise. However, that was never enough to fill the void where Dan Snyder’s heart should be. His Napoleon complex and delinquency through the years imply that’s all he’s ever wanted. The next best thing is a quarterback like Lamar Jackson.
As the Washington Commanders’ rotten owner, his presence has been a malignant tumor poisoning one of the NFL’s most prestigious organizations from the inside out for a quarter-century. On the verge of removing himself from the equation, Snyder has exemplified a level of petty we’ve never seen at this level — he could have welcomed Jeff Bezos into the Commanders’ bidding process and driven the price up on the franchise. Instead, seemingly out of sheer vindictiveness, Snyder allegedly shut out one of the world’s richest men. Either way, his investment in the team will increase tenfold when, and if he sells.
Spitting in the faces of everyone around him is one of Snyder’s most precious vices, along with a few others that are being investigated by jurisdictions around the Washington metropolitan area, so it’s not implausible he decides to retain ownership after everything. But let’s assume he does go forward with a sale. In his waning days (God willing!), he has a chance to accidentally do the right thing one more time by extending a fully-guaranteed contract to Jackson. Who it’s wrong for depends on if he despises his fellow owners or his fans more.
Why not sign Lamar Jackson to a guaranteed deal?
The Ravens are dangling Jackson on a non-exclusive franchise tag that prorates at $32 million in 2023 and allows Jackson to negotiate a long-term contract with other teams. However, once a deal is agreed to, the Ravens can match that offer sheet or receive a pair of first-round picks as compensation. Baltimore is daring a competitor to negotiate a deal that the Ravens likely aren’t willing to match.
However, Washington makes too much sense as a team in a position to throw a wrench into the gears of the Ravens and the NFL. The Dolphins are out of the Jackson bidding after inking Mike White to a $16 million deal and it’s not like they were ever testing the waters. Josh McDaniels reunited with a former associate in Vegas, The Buccaneers are a viable option, but there’s been no traction on Tampa Bay’s end.
Lamar Jackson in Chocolate City is a logical fit. D.C. is a Baltimore-adjacent city, so he wouldn’t be migrating far. The Commanders recently hired Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to spice up their offense, which is exactly what Jackson has needed in Baltimore. Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson would automatically be the most competent receivers he’s ever thrown to. Washington now has $24 million in projected cap space after signing Daron Payne.
The best part for Snyder is that he wouldn’t have to foot the bill. Due to the NFL Funding Rules, teams have to pay much of a guaranteed contract into an escrow account within the first year.
However, as Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk pointed out, the escrow payment wouldn’t be due until March 31, 2024. If the Ravens decided to match, it would be a masterstroke stroke saddling the Ravens with a deal they were hesitant to make for the past year.
Reportedly, other owners aren’t keen on the idea of guaranteed multi-year contracts for franchise quarterbacks becoming mainstream. This is Snyder’s chance to taint the water.
Commanders are reportedly not interested, but maybe Snyder trolls the league before he leaves?
Putting aside reports of Washington’s lack of interest in acquiring Jackson, The idea of Snyder simultaneously creating chaos in the quarterback market and bringing tranquility to Washington on his way out would be grade-A irony. The only other fully-guaranteed contract of this magnitude was the outlier deal shelled out to Deshaun Watson to skirt any financial penalties a lengthy suspension would yield as a middle finger to the league. It’s only right that the next one be given by a lascivious team owner as an F.U. to his peers.
Would this be a positive development for the Commanders? Jackson is a quick-twitch mobile quarterback who has an elongated injury dossier. So the key to convincing Snyder to do the deed might be someone emphasizing the Brinks truck he’d be dropping on the next owner’s lap.