Lamar Jackson ‘Ready to Move on From Ravens’: Report

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

Getty The Ravens newest weapon wasn't guaranteed who would be under center in 2023 upon signing.

The seemingly never-ending saga of the Lamar Jackson contract situation with the Baltimore Ravens saw a discouraging development on Tuesday, March 21. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported that according to multiple sources, the former unanimous league MVP-winning quarterback had an uncertified representative reach out to other teams in hopes of sparking negotiations for an offer sheet.

However, the more important part of the report was that he is also “ready to move on from the Ravens,” according to a source of Florio.

Given that the team placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on him, they have the right to match any offer sheet that Jackson receives from another team and lock him up to a long-term deal. That is if the All-Pro signal caller is interested in signing it and not just playing the 2023 season on the tag.

Life on the field without Jackson has been far less prosperous than it has been when he is under center or lined up in shotgun. He is 45-16 in his career as a starter in the regular season and 1-3 in the postseason while the team is 3-8 in games that he has missed including 0-1 in the playoffs.

The Ravens’ offense averaged just 13.6 points per game when Jackson missed the final six games of last season including the postseason. While they will be running a new scheme moving forward under first-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken that will likely lean less on the quarterback run game, any version of their new system wouldn’t be operated optimally without the most electrifying player in the game.

As far as Jackson’s alleged representative that is reportedly reaching out to other teams on his behalf to gauge his market or try to negotiate terms for an offer sheet, according to Florio’s report and the NFL collective bargaining agreement, it isn’t permitted.

Last year when Ravens All-Pro inside linebacker Roquan Smith was still a member of the Chicago Bears and tried to have Saint Omni allegedly contact teams in an attempt to orchestrate a trade, the league office “specifically instructed teams not to negotiate with representatives not certified by the NFLPA”.

“Clubs are reminded that, under Article 48 of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, Player Contracts may only be negotiated with the player if he is acting on his own behalf, or with the player’s NFLPA certified agent,” the August 2022 memo explained.

The Bears went on to trade Smith at the midseason deadline a few months later anyways where he made an immediate and transformative impact on the defense. Like Jackson, Smith also doesn’t have a certified agent but was able to negotiate and agree to terms on a long-term deal before their season even ended which made him the highest-paid player at his position.

Hopefully, the Ravens and Jackson can come to terms ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft so that the team can address some of their top needs before the reaming top options on the free agent market get snatched up. That way, they can stick to their best player available model come late April instead of being forced to draft for need which isn’t historically their preferred strategy but given this unprecedented situation with limited resources, might be a necessity.

Patriots & Titans Could be ‘Wild Card’ Suitors for Jackson, Says NFL Insider

There have been several teams named as potential landing spots for the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback since the Ravens placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on him on March 7, 2023. Two possible suitors that haven’t been as frequently mentioned but still shouldn’t be counted out according to ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler are the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans.

“The draft could be a good indicator because you have a team like the Colts at number four,” Fowler said on Sportcenter on March 19, 2023. “If they feel like they can’t get the quarterback of the future they wanted to draft maybe they pivot to Lamar Jackson. The Jets, if they strike out with Aaron Rodgers, certainly that’s not expected, but they could pivot. And then you got some wild cards like Tennessee or New England,” Fowler said. “Teams that like to run the ball. You never know.”

He also said that are “no real firm” offer sheets that he is currently “aware of” and that “teams are probably slow-playing this” ahead of the draft as they continue to explore other inexpensive options that include the quarterbacks expected to go in the top 10 picks.

Making a Case For & Against Lamar Jackson to the Colts

Fowler isn’t the only ESPN reporter to link an AFC South team to the First-Team All-Pro as of late. Stephen Holder detailed the pros and cons of the Indianapolis Colts being a possible suitor for Jackson in a recent article.

“If the 26-year-old former MVP leaves Baltimore, there are reasons to believe the Colts would be a good fit,” Holder wrote. “Owner Jim Irsay is intent on solving a quarterback problem that’s defined Indianapolis for the past five years, and he’s proved willing to pay top dollar.”

He also acknowledged that acquiring a former league MVP entering the prime of his career would be an immediate upgrade over what they currently have and have had in the past and would get them in contention quicker than any of the top prospects in this year’s draft would.

“Landing Jackson would be the quickest route to closing the quarterback gap the Colts currently face in their conference,” Holder wrote. “It would be a more certain route than relying on a quarterback pick who might or might not pan out.”

As far as cons, he highlighted and listed the potential financial implications of landing Jackson, his recent injury concerns, and reiterated that by engaging in negotiations with him, they could just be doing the rest of the Ravens’ work for them since they have the right to match any offer sheet presented.

“What team wants to enter a situation knowing it might come away feeling as though it was used to do the negotiating for the players’ current team? What’s more, the fact that the Ravens have been unable to come to terms with Jackson after more than two years of negotiations will give teams pause,” Holder wrote.

“A team signing Jackson to an offer sheet might need to make some salary cap moves in advance in case the Ravens decline to match. Depending on how the deal is structured, that might impact other areas of the roster for Indianapolis even though there’s no certainty the Colts would land Jackson.”