Even though the Baltimore Ravens haven’t been around for over a hundred years like a few other NFL franchises, they’ve had several elite-level, Hall-of-Fame-caliber players over the years. Former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson could very well go down as one of the greatest Ravens of all time, should he continue to wreak havoc for several more seasons in Baltimore.
Yet, as we all know by now, the Ravens have long been trying to reach a contract extension with Jackson, who is not represented by a player agent. Instead, Jackson and his mother handle his contract negotiations, and it’s been this way dating back to his rookie contract, which features very few terms that can be adjusted with player salaries locked into their draft position.
The Ravens have had a long time to reach a contract agreement with their superstar quarterback, dating back to last offseason when Jackson first became eligible to sign an extension. Of course, that never worked out, leading to Baltimore placing the non-exclusive franchise tag valued at $32 million on Jackson instead.
Now teams have the opportunity to sign Jackson to an offer sheet, and if the Ravens decide not to match the terms, Jackson would join his new team, with two first-round picks being sent back to Baltimore in exchange for the dual-threat weapon.
But there’s a sense that the Ravens and Jackson remain far apart in contract negotiations, with the 26-year-old even going as far as to leak Baltimore’s latest contract offer on social media while insisting the organization is lowballing him.
Negotiations have reportedly turned so sour that, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk’s sources, Jackson is “ready to move on from the Ravens.”
If so, we could see the otherworldly talented QB sign an offer sheet with an unnamed team in the near future. We’ve heard plenty of organizations bow out of the competition, but it’s hard to imagine many teams turning down the chance to add one of the NFL’s best players to their roster.
Related: Minnesota Vikings mentioned as a good fit for Lamar Jackson trade
Why teams may be avoiding Lamar Jackson
It’s possible some teams have publicly claimed they want nothing to do with Jackson, only in an effort to avoid any negative backlash if things don’t work out. After all, if a team with an established starter made it known they were all-in on pursuing Jackson, only to have the Ravens match the offer, well, that bridge with their existing QB is pretty much burned.
It’s not much different than what we saw in Atlanta last offseason when they were chasing Deshaun Watson, which led to Matt Ryan being traded, leaving the Falcons without an established starter, still to this day. Perhaps this exact situation is what teams are looking to avoid. It’s a lot more believable than thinking there’s no interest in a player of Jackson’s ability.
Related: NFL insider mailbag: Latest on DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr. and more