After months of negotiations and despite what was described as “the best efforts on both sides” by general manager Eric DeCosta, the Baltimore Ravens failed to reach a long-term contract extension with franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson before the former unanimous league MVP’s self-imposed deadline.
Jackson made it clear that he would not be continuing contract talks once the regular season came and that Friday, September 9, 2022, would be the cutoff date for further negotiations until the season ended. He is solely focused on the upcoming season that will kick off with a road matchup with the New York Jets on September 11, at 1 pm EST. Even though they were unable to come to terms on a new deal, both sides have confidence that one will eventually get done and that Jackson will be in Baltimore for the long haul.
“Those things will work themselves out in the end. I’m confident in that,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said in a press conference on September 7, 2022. “I said at the beginning that it will happen when it’s time, and when it’s time it will happen. So, Lamar [Jackson] is playing quarterback, he’s going to be playing quarterback here for a long time.”
Ex-Raven Joe Flacco Talks About Facing Former Team
When the Ravens faceoff with the Jets in Week 1 for the season opener it will mark the first time that they will be facing their former franchise quarterback since they traded him following the 2018 season. With second-year signal caller, Zach Wilson to miss the first three games of the regular season as he recovers from knee surgery, according to Jets head coach Robert Saleh, the 14-year veteran will be the team’s starter to begin the season.
Flacco played the first 11 years of his career with the Ravens and was the face of the franchise. He led the team to tremendous success in the first half of his tenure with the team, making the playoffs in his first five years at the helm and six of the first seven. The former first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft compiled a 10-5 postseason record as a starter which included the magical Superbowl run in 2012.
He was officially announced as the team’s starter for the first month of the season on September 7, 2022, and talked about how the emotions for this particular matchup will be unlike anything he has “experienced before” but downplayed the overall impact they will have.
“Once the dust settles and the game gets going, it’s a football game,” Flacco said. “You’re lining up and playing against the guys across from you. Maybe the first snap or two will be extra crazy feelings that go into it. After that, I’ve been in a bunch of playoff games and all those things and it’s a football game at the end of the day.”
More Familiar Faces on Opposing Sidelines
The Jets have another former Ravens first-round pick on their roster that will be playing against his former team for the first time. Veteran inside linebacker CJ Mosley spent the first five years of his career and made four Pro Bowls in Baltimore before signing with New York during the same offseason Flacco was traded. He was on injured reserve when the two teams played on December 12, 2019, and downplayed the significance of the emotional element as well.
“I haven’t really stressed myself out thinking about it. We’re preparing for our first opponent,” Mosley said in a press conference on September 8, 2022. “Obviously, it’s a closer connection for me, but as far as the mental feeling of it, I haven’t really came to it yet. I know once I get on the field, I’m sure once all the smoke clears and all the hoopla gets out of the way, it’ll be right back to football.
Flacco and Mosley aren’t the only veteran players that will be starting on Sunday that have ties to both teams. Morgan Moses signed a three-year deal with the Ravens this offseason after spending 2021 with the Jets. He will open the season as the starting right tackle and is excited that his first game as a Raven is going to be against his former employers, teammates, and coaches.
“It’s going to be fun,” Moses said in a press conference on September 5, 2022. “[There are] a lot of guys over there that I spent the year with last year [and] that I got to know, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to being able to open up [the season on] Sunday, football in New York, and I look forward to it.”