Baltimore Ravens not worried about Lamar Jackson skipping OTAs, want to avoid ‘lease’ deal
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is not attending organized team activities voluntarily, becoming the latest NFL star to skip optional workouts amid contract disputes. Although the absence made headlines, it doesn’t seem to be a problem in Baltimore.
Jackson’s absence caused a lot of backlash, which led him to hit back at criticism of him for missing team practices. With the 2019 NFL MVP not interested in discussing a long-term deal at this time, some found it odd that he would take a step typically used by players looking for leverage in contract negotiations.
- Lamar Jackson Running Stats (Career): 3,673 rushing yards, 21 rushing touchdowns, 224 first downs
While Baltimore would like their Pro Bowl quarterback to return, it appears the organization is confident the 25-year-old will return when the time is right.
During an appearance on Sunday sports center, ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler shared that Jackson promised the Ravens he would report to the team this summer. Moreover, the organization isn’t worried about his current absence, which suggests there is a bad relationship with the team.
Related: NFL Executives ‘Monitoring’ Lamar Jackson Contract Situation
Jackson has plenty of time to report. The Ravens’ mandatory minicamp is June 14-16, so the face of the franchise can take their time before arriving at the team facility. However, it looks like Baltimore would definitely prefer him to take a more aggressive approach in contract negotiations.
Latest on Lamar Jackson contract talks
Jackson takes a unique approach to a top quarterback. While Josh Allen signed his contract quickly and Kyler Murray is upset that he doesn’t already have a new contract, the Baltimore passer is taking a different approach to things.
He apparently wouldn’t want to discuss a deal this year, putting talks on hold until 2023. It’s the same approach he took a season ago when the Ravens wanted to discuss a long-term deal and that their quarterback said preparing for the upcoming season was his sole focus.
There’s not exactly pressure on Baltimore to act now. Jackson plays his fifth-year option worth $23 million guaranteed. While he is eligible for NFL free agency in 2023, the Ravens already have plans to place the franchise tag on him. It’s a year-by-year approach that Baltimore is willing to take, but would have preferred not to.
“They believe if he wants to do that, they could go year to year, kind of like a rental situation. They don’t want that; they want to sign him for the long term. But I spoke to several league executives who said they might do the same, especially with some of the injury issues related to his running style. So they want to do it, but they’re not going to panic either. They have options.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Baltimore Ravens’ approach to Lamar Jackson contract talks
Ultimately, the organization has no choice in the matter. Jackson’s plan seems clear, he will play the next three seasons with fully guaranteed salaries. He is expected to earn over $32 million on the franchise tag in 2023 and that figure could rise to $40 million if tagged in 2024.
At this point, a third consecutive franchise tag becomes prohibitively expensive and Jackson will hold all the leverage. Whether he comes from the Ravens or another team, Jackson will land one of the biggest contracts in NFL history.