Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was finally in Maryland this past week attending the team’s mandatory minicamp after skipping their OTA sessions—which he told reporters yesterday had nothing to do with his unresolved contract situation and entirely to do with his desire to “just grind”, as he said.
The former league MVP indeed spoke to the media for the first time this offseason, and while he was not very forthcoming at all as far as his contract is concerned, he did say that they have, indeed, had conversations. In fact, whenever he was asked about it, that’s what he would say—that they’re having conversations. Including conversations this week.
The former 32nd-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson has indisputably been one of the most successful players in the league since he entered the starting lineup, at least during the regular season. They are still working on cracking that postseason nut, missing the dance altogether last season after Jackson went down late in the year with an injury.
What little he did give in the way of answers regarding his contract and his plans for this offseason were still notable. When asked if he expects to be a Raven for the entirety of his career, he answered in the affirmative. But when he asked whether or not he would be on the field during training camp without a new deal—or even in the starting lineup in Week 1—he said, “I don’t know”.
For what it’s worth, I think that answer was really for the first half of the question, and not the second, because earlier in the media session, he did say of the notion that he shouldn’t take the field without a new deal, “I don’t buy into it at all. I play football; that’s what I’m here for”.
Yet he also said that he hasn’t really given much thought to the idea that he’s “betting on himself”. Still, when asked if he would prefer to have a new contract completed before the end of the year, he defaulted to the generic answer of “It’s in conversation”.
So does he really want a new deal? Is he actually considering playing out the season? I don’t think we’ve really gotten many more answers than we had beforehand. Not that it should be surprising. Jackson doesn’t benefit from giving these answers away.
The only thing we’ve really learned is that they are indeed at least talking about the contract. We don’t know who exactly is participating in those conversations and what level of formality they may represent, but clearly, they’re at least talking. How significant is that? Well, I suppose it depends on whether or not a deal comes out of it, right?
And as always, a sincere kudos to the Ravens organization and their website management for consistently displaying the willingness of providing transcripts for their media sessions, unlike certain other teams that will remain unnamed.