Last week, things seemed to come to a head between the Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson. As the offseason officially commences in Baltimore, Jackson may be ready to continue to apply pressure to the pimple that has festered on the forehead of player and team.
“When you have something good,” Jackson posted on his Instagram story, “you don’t play with it. You don’t take chances losing it. You don’t neglect it. When you have something good, you pour into it. You appreciate it. Because when you take care of something good, that good thing takes care of you too.”
The comment will be interpreted as a message to the Ravens. In 2022, they refused to give him a five-year, fully-guaranteed contract. More recently, a sense of exasperation from the organization has emerged regarding his unwillingness to play in the postseason with a PCL sprain.
Jackson seemingly has tiptoed around doing anything over the past two years that would paint him as the bad guy. If the Ravens are going to subtly characterize him that way (and/or fail to push back on the efforts of outside voices to do so), he might as well embrace the role and do what Deshaun Watson did as one of the various steps on his path to a five-year, fully-guaranteed deal from the Browns — make it clear he’s done playing for his current team.
That could indeed happen in the coming weeks. All options are on the table, starting with a renewed effort to work out a long-term deal. Given that the two sides could make no progress when the relationship was strong, it’s hard to imagine a deal getting done at a time when things feel tense and dysfunctional.
The question then becomes whether the Ravens will apply the non-exclusive franchise tag, opening the door to negotiations between Lamar and other teams, and quite possibly an offer sheet or a trade.