The State of the Ravens
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have still not reached an endpoint in their negotiations. Lamar Jackson was franchise tagged by the Baltimore Ravens for $32 million for the 2023-24 NFL season.
The tag that the Ravens applied to Jackson was the “non-exclusive” variant, which means other NFL teams can communicate with Lamar Jackson. If the two are able to come to terms, the Baltimore Ravens will have the opportunity to either match the contract offer or surrender Jackson to the team of interest for 2 first-round draft picks.
I truly believe that the Ravens are showcasing a certain level of disrespect to Lamar Jackson and his mother, the person he chooses to negotiate contracts with.
The Ravens are sending a message that if a player plays to their maximum potential, wins the MVP, makes the team a perennial playoff contender, and acts like a saint off the field, such a player would be paid. That has not been the case.
GM Eric DeCosta
The disrespect from the front office has crept into other positions as well. General Manager Eric DeCosta was quoted at the Combine saying the following about his wide receiver drafting skills:
“If I had an answer, that would probably mean I would have some better receivers,” DeCosta said. “We’re gonna keep swinging. There have been some guys that have been successful players for us that were draft picks. We’ve never really hit on that All-Pro type of guy, which is disappointing, but it’s not for a lack of effort.”
2021 first-round wide receiver Rashod Bateman did not take kindly to the critique, replying, “How bout you play to your player’s strength and & stop pointing the finger at us and #8 …blame the one you let do this…. we take heat 24/7.”
“Keep us healthy … care about US & see what happen..ain’t no promises tho … tired of y’all lyin and capn on players for no reason.”
I really feel like Bateman is echoing a greater sentiment held by players in the Ravens’ locker room right now. Lamar’s contract negotiations going nowhere have affected everyone on the team, and the players are skeptical of the organization they’re suiting up for.
Only time will tell if a team gives Lamar the contract he wants, so he is able to prove the Ravens wrong, but it seems such a deal will be on the horizon from one team or another. Lamar Jackson, a former league MVP, being “up for grabs” is not something that is commonplace in the NFL.
Where to Next for Jackson?
I’m looking at a team like the Atlanta Falcons to make a real move for Jackson. The Falcons are a young team that could afford to lose two first-round draft picks for the opportunity to bring Jackson in.