Is Lamar Jackson Hurt Or Did He Finally Come To His Senses? | LJ8 Probably Won’t Play Until He Gets New Deal From An NFL Team

Lamar Jackson might not play for Baltimore Ravens in NFL Playoffs
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Lamar Jackson has not played since Week 13 and missed his third straight practice this week with a knee injury. The Baltimore Ravens have gone a respectable 2-2 in his absence but are averaging just 12.3 points per game. 

Will Lamar Jackson Play Again This Season?

Of course, the fans and head coach John Harbaugh would love to have Lamar back on the field, but with no lucrative deal in place and Jackson set to become a free agent in the 2023 season, there’s rumors swirling that we have seen the last of LJ8 this season. The 2019 MVP might be in shutdown mode. 

Baltimore locked up a playoff spot in Week 16 with a 17-9 win against the Atlanta Falcons at M&T Bank Stadium, so Ravens fans hoped that some rest for their star quarterback would have him rejuvenated and ready to make that Super Bowl run he always refers to. But the way Harbaugh answered questions about Lamar’s availability, it’s clear that the head coach doesn’t really know when his QB will be back in action, if at all. 

“Im probably going to leave all that stuff alone,” Harbaugh said in Tuesday’s presser. “I’m going to focus on the game, coach our guys and have them get ready to play the game.”

Is Lamar Jackson’s Knee Still Injured? 

Jackson has missed the last four games, and with no contract in tow, the quarterback could very well be sitting out the season to avoid further injury or risk blowing the bag completely. This second consecutive late season injury has already raised some eyebrows around the league and lessened the chances of Jackson getting the fully guaranteed, record contract that he reportedly desires. The same one the Ravens have reportedly balked on offering. 

Lamar Jackson Confirms He Didn’t Get Fully Guaranteed Contract Offer From Ravens With “No They Didn’t” | Situation Is Getting Uglier

 

Will Lamar Jackson Take The Field For NFL Playoffs?

Jackson hasn’t taken the field since spraining a posterior cruciate ligament at the end of the first quarter in a 10-9 win over the Denver Broncos on Dec. 4.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the recovery time on such an injury is usually one to three weeks. When Jackson first got hurt in Week 13, Harbaugh initially described Jackson as “week to week.”

“The way we feel, the sooner we can get him back, the better,” Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman told ESPN at the time of Jackson’s injury. “Especially heading into the playoffs, [we’d] love to get some work in before then, but you can’t rush Mother Nature. We have to make sure he’s right at the same time.”

The Ravens’ franchise quarterback, more than anyone, has to feel it’s the right time. The risks at this point could really affect his market value. As of today, there would be no shortage of NFL teams willing to throw a huge bag at Lamar. He knows this. 

Lamar Jackson Played This Season With No Long-Term Contract

Jackson decided to play the season without a long-term contract, against the advice of sports analysts, fans and players across the NFL world, who implored him not to take the field until he had secured a deal. Negotiations with Jackson and the Ravens hit a wall at a certain point this past offseason, but Jackson decided to bet on himself and play this season out with no guarantees or financial security if he gets hurt. 

At first it was working out perfectly. Then he got hurt. 

The former MVP’s rugged style of play has already made the franchise hesitant to commit to a fully guaranteed deal of Jackson’s liking. Jackson hasn’t spoken about the contract negotiations much so there is plenty of mystery surrounding the situation. We don’t even know any exact figures or basic terms of a deal. It can be assumed that the relationship between Jackson and the Ravens has become a bit strained due to their inability to reach an agreement. It has visibly caused stress on the head coach and the team, especially when Jackson’s not on the field winning games. 

Jackson injuring himself again has added another layer of politics to the situation, which has made several analysts wonder if Jackson is thinking about moving on next season.

Is Lamar Jackson Leaving Baltimore? 

“I don’t know if Lamar Jackson is going to be in Baltimore next year. Something is going to transpire this offseason in Baltimore that I think it’s going to be very shocking,” said NFL analyst Marcus Spears on Thursday’s episode of “First Take.” “Even if he gets a contract, I don’t think everyone is going to be happy in that situation. And Lamar Jackson has to decide whether or not he is in the best possible situation to have success going forward.”

That’s not good news for the Baltimore Ravens, who have built their entire offense around Jackson and without him they go from playoff contender to middle of the pack. 

“The Baltimore Ravens can win a playoff game if Lamar Jackson isn’t playing at a high level,” Spears said. “We know the impact that Lamar Jackson has on all of the success when it comes to the Baltimore Ravens.”

With the playoffs lurking and Jackson’s availability remaining a mystery, rumors will continue to swirl, and Ravens fans will get more antsy.  If LJ8 doesn’t return to the field, some will say that he is just making a “decision he should have made months ago,” according to Stephen A. Smith.

Maybe he’s realizing that he tempted fate by playing such a brutal game with no long-term financial assurances. In light of the Damar Hamlin tragedy, those concerns are heightened. Now that he’s escaped another major injury, he could be ready to sit down and negotiate, but maybe not with Baltimore.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.