The Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson entered the offseason with a mutual interest in a long-term partnership. Months later, there are increasing signs that a separation might be welcomed by both sides.
Both Jackson and the Ravens have insisted publicly for over a year that a long-term contract extension is what they want. However, Baltimore’s offers and the quarterback’s contract demands have become an increasing source of frustration for the club and player.
Jackson called out the Ravens’ organization in early March for low-balling him and revealed previously undisclosed details of their latest proposal. It’s one of the many issues Baltimore’s front office has had with the negotiation process, including Jackson not having an agent.
Related: Why Lamar Jackson should start negotiating through the media
Weeks after receiving the non-exclusive franchise tag, worth significantly less money than the exclusive tag, Jackson is now open to playing for another team. It appears he is no longer the only part that is now open to the idea of separation.
Appearing on SportsCenter, ESPN’s NFL insider Jeremy Fowler said that Baltimore would like to keep Jackson in the fold. However, the franchise hasn’t provided an outright plan of committing to bringing him back no matter what.
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“Baltimore is at least giving some indications to some free agents they’ve been meeting with that they would like to keep Lamar. They hope he’s there, but they’re not committing one way or the other. So, still unclear to players like say, Nelson Agholor, who come in and sign with Baltimore as a wide receiver, they don’t quite know who their quarterback is going to be.”Jeremy Fowler on Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (H/T Bleacher Report)
The Ravens won’t just give Jackson away. Considering the Chicago Bears received star wide receiver DJ Moore, the 9th overall pick and additional assets for the right to draft Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud, an MVP-caliber quarterback like Jackson won’t just walk in free agency.
Related: Baltimore Ravens draft picks 2023
However, no NFL team has reportedly engaged with Jackson in dialogue on a potential contract and that currently leaves him without alternatives to Baltimore. Even if he agreed to an offer sheet with another club, the Ravens could match it or receive two first-round picks in return.
- Lamar Jackson stats (2022): 59.1 ESPN QBR (9th), 17-7 TD-INT, 764 rushing yards
Recent developments now suggest this could drag out past the 2024 NFL Draft, which could theoretically introduce new suitors into the mix. While many around the league believed the Ravens would match any offer Jackson received, the recent sentiment from both sides now indicates that might no longer be a guarantee.
While the likeliest outcome is still Jackson playing for the Ravens in 2023, it’s not the foregone conclusion everyone expected after Baltimore’s season ended. Given where things stand, the Ravens might now have to consider spending an early pick on a quarterback.
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