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NFL warns clubs not to negotiate with ‘uncertified person’ attempting to act as Lamar Jackson’s agent

Lamar Jackson's search for a new team, or at least a new contract, has taken a bizarre turn.

The NFL issued a memo Thursday warning its teams against negotiating with a person named Ken Francis, who has allegedly contacted executives on the Baltimore Ravens quarterback's behalf. Because Francis is not an NFLPA-certified agent, the NFL said he is prohibited from acting as Jackson's representative.

According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Francis is a Florida man who was pitching a home fitness invention before acting as Jackson's representative in a nine-figure deal.

Jackson immediately denied the report:

Francis also denied he had been contacting teams for Jackson when reached by ESPN, saying "I don't speak for Lamar."

Less than an hour later, however, Jackson posted a video identifying Francis as his business partner and himself using his "The Entire Gym" invention, introducing the distinct possibility the pair used the NFL as part of a marketing ploy. Their product appears to be a set of compact gym equipment stored in some kind of suitcase for mobile workouts

Over the past few years, Jackson has famously been negotiating his first long-term deal without the help of an agent. He has opted to act as his own agent while reportedly relying on an inner circle of family and advisers and the NFL Players Association.

The process hasn't been going well, especially when you ask real, certified NFL agents. Whether or not Jackson actually hired Francis as a representative, the mere fact the NFL felt the need to warn every club about this is a sign of how much this situation has left the rails.

Lamar Jackson's negotiations with other teams have been slow-moving

Because the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson earlier this month, the former MVP has been allowed to contact other teams in pursuit of a long-term deal. If he signs an offer sheet elsewhere, the Ravens may either take over the contract as their own or receive two first-round draft picks from the new team.

While many teams' fans had been salivating at the idea of landing Jackson, the actual market turned out to be colder than expected. Several potential suitors were quickly reported to not be interested, and the temperature has not increased by much in the time since.

If no team is willing to offer Jackson what he feels he deserves, his options are to either sign a deal anyway (with the Ravens or not), play on the franchise tag and hit free agency again next year (though the Ravens could tag him again) or hold out and stop playing.

Here's the NFL's memo to teams about Lamar Jackson and Ken Francis

The NFLPA has informed us that a person by the name of Ken Francis, who is not an NFLPA certified agent, may be contacting Clubs and attempting to persuade Club personnel to enter into negotiations with or concerning Lamar Jackson, who is currently under a Nonexclusive Franchise Tender with the Baltimore Ravens.

As an uncertified person, Mr. Francis is prohibited from negotiating Offer Sheets or Player Contracts, or discussing potential trades on behalf of any NFL player or prospective player or assisting in or advising with respect to such negotiations.

Clubs are reminded that, under Article 48 of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, an Offer Sheet, which may result in an NFL Player Contract, may only be negotiated with the player, if he is acting on his own behalf, or with the player's NFLPA certified agent. To be clear, Mr. Jackson is not currently represented by an NFLPA certified agent.

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.