For the second consecutive year, the Ravens face the prospect of their electric QB watching their final game from the sidelines. Last year, it was a bone bruise to his ankle. This year, a PCL sprain.
Yet sources say the Ravens haven’t changed their stance on whether Lamar Jackson is their future at QB.
Whenever the season ends — Sunday against the Bengals or next week or at some point in the future — they plan to begin negotiating with Jackson with hopes of striking a long-term deal, sources say. They made inroads prior to the season, but never reached the point of getting close to an agreement.
Jackson hopes for as much guaranteed money as possible, perhaps even a deal similar to that of Deshaun Watson, and that was one of the key holdups prior to the season. Jackson played on the $23 million fifth-year option this past season after the Ravens’ good-faith efforts did not end in a deal.
Every expectation is that Baltimore will tag him for 2023 if they cannot work out a long-term extension, sources say, though the particular tag is not yet known. Most QBs receive the exclusive tag, which does not allow any other team to have a shot at the player, while other players receive the non-exclusive tag — meaning there is compensation in the form of two first-round picks if another team pries him away with a long-term deal.
Essentially, sources say, despite the disappointment with Jackson not being able to play in the first round of the playoffs, the Ravens are still all-in.
To be sure, it has been a week for Jackson, who went public with details of his grade 2 PCL sprain and described his knee as swollen and unstable.
While swollen does seem to be accurate, especially after rehab workouts, unstable has not been a way it has been described previously. It does appear Jackson would be at minimal risk of reinjury if he played.
But as he explained in his tweet, that’s not the issue. The issue is he doesn’t feel like he can be his 100% self if he plays. Thus, Jackson waits, and there is no guarantee next week changes anything.
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