The 2019 NFL MVP, who also happens to be one of only two unanimous MVPs in league history (Tom Brady 2010), as of now will be playing on his fifth-year option this upcoming season.
Jackson and the Ravens have made little discernible progress in extension talks, and it’s clearly not wise for him to participate in any team activities without contract security, especially coming off the first significant injury of his career. Therefore, the dynamic dual-threat is unsurprisingly forgoing participation in the team’s offseason organized team activities.
You might not see Jackson at all until a lucrative long-term deal is signed.
In fact, on a recent episode on “Get Up,” ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick shared those same sentiments.
“I still feel as though he shouldn’t step on the football field. This is a guy who puts himself in harm’s way at a very, very high clip. Such as how he plays … that’s why Lamar Jackson is Lamar Jackson. That’s what we want as highlights on our airwaves over and over again. That just wouldn’t be smart from a business perspective.”
While the workouts are voluntary, teams use that as a chance to create camaraderie and begin to put things in place for the upcoming season. Jackson is well within his rights not to be in attendance, and especially without a new contract in tow.
Players And Coaches Weigh In On Jackson’s Absence
The NFL offseason should be dubbed slow news day in many instances. The media loves to blow the smallest stories out of proportion. But in typical fashion, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was asked about his star player’s absence, and he was pretty blunt in his response.
“It’s not for me to speak for somebody else on that. It’s up to him to speak for himself,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh has long had Jackson’s back and he’s shown a ton of trust in his quarterback. In this case he seems to be pretty much in the dark as the rest of us as pertains to Jackson’s offseason status.
Can’t wait to get back😮💨🚀🚀💜🖤 https://t.co/Nb6gG50uYc
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) May 24, 2022
All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews, whose become Jackson’s favorite target, has been in contact with his quarterback in limbo.
“I’ve talked with him,” Andrews said this week. “I know how hard he’s working. He’s extremely motivated, extremely hungry, so there’s no worries over there. I know what he’s doing. We’re all working to do our job here, and getting ready for him.”
Former All-Pro cornerback back Marlon Humphrey says as long as players are putting in work no matter where they are he’s good with that.
“I think as long as guys are working, no matter where they are, I think that’s the biggest key. I spoke with Lamar early in the offseason. He said he’ll be coming in, so we’ll look real excited to get him out there.”
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) May 13, 2022
Jackson Has Been Dynamic His First Three Seasons As Starter
Jackson’s record as a starter is 37-12, but it’s his 1-3 playoff record that has many questioning his long-term prognosis. While that may hold some validity, the blame for those three playoff losses isn’t solely on LJ8. The one area that Jackson must show improvement in is the passing game, as his erratic passes have been a cause for concern.
Since his 2019 MVP season of 37 touchdowns and just six interceptions, his numbers have tapered off, even with the Ravens remaining in the thick of things in the highly competitive AFC.
Prior to his ankle injury, which cost him the final five games of the 2021 season, Baltimore was 8-3 and top seed in the conference.
What’s really going on in Baltimore?