Lamar Jackson’s future in a Baltimore Ravens uniform is up in the air.
Jackson is entering an offseason of uncertainty as he finishes the fifth year of his rookie option.
The Ravens now have two months to either agree to a long-term deal, slap the franchise tag on him, or trade the former MVP.
Adding to the intrigue was Jackson’s notable absence from the sidelines during Baltimore’s 24-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs.
Jackson could not suit up with a PCL injury and remained home instead of attending the game.
But while his teammates were forced to play the last five games of the 2022 season without him, there are more than a few who expect him back in Baltimore next season.
“You can’t let a guy like him go,” Ravens defensive tackle Calais Campbell said Monday, according to Baltimore’s website.
“I know it’s football, and there’s always some new exciting toy, new exciting kid that has potential to go out there and be great. But this is a for-sure, a known. You know Lamar Jackson is an incredible player. I think it’s in the best interests of the Ravens’ organization to give him a long-term contract, make him our guy.”
Shortly after the end of Baltimore’s season, Jackson posted an interesting message to his Instagram account, sharing a post from Wallace Peeples – the co-host and owner of “Million $ Worth of Game.”
“When you have something good, you don’t play with it. You don’t take chances losing it. You don’t neglect it,” the post read. “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.”
Jackson and the Ravens failed to reach a contract extension in the offseason, tabling talks during the season.
Now the Ravens need to decide whether Jackson is worthy of a long-term deal as guaranteed money for quarterbacks continues to skyrocket.
“It doesn’t weigh on me all that much,” Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley said. “All I know is that I want Lamar to be playing here with me as long as I’m playing. He knows that, and I have full faith that they’re going to work something out.
“In my mind, I know he’s going to be here. He’s a competitor, he wants to win, and this is his team and his offense. The money is not the most important thing to Lamar. He really wants to win, contrary to popular belief.”
The Ravens will have until March 7 to reach a deal. Baltimore will have the option to use the exclusive franchise tag on Jackson if a deal cannot be reached by that date.