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Lamar Jackson Says He Won’t Negotiate In-Season, But Optimistic New Deal Will Get Done

There is no ‘hold-in’ in Baltimore for quarterback Lamar Jackson as he slowly but surely attempts to iron out a contract extension with the Ravens, one that on the outside it doesn’t appear he has necessarily been all that eager to bring to fruition this offseason.

The former MVP reported to camp on time and has been a typical participant on the field. He spoke to reporters yesterday, saying that negotiations are occurring between himself and general manager Eric DeCosta when the two have “mutual free time”, according to Jamison Hensley for ESPN.

Interestingly, he also said that while he believes that a deal will get done, he will not let it drag on into the regular season. The Ravens more than almost any other team are willing to negotiate contracts in-season, something that the Pittsburgh Steelers do not.

But as a player who represents himself rather than employing an agent, it’s understandable that he would not want to engage in negotiations when he is trying to prepare for opponents. Asked what would happen if a contract is not completed by the opener, he told reporters, “I said there is going to be a cutoff”.

The 32nd-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson has been the most dynamic player in the NFL, though debate has raged over exactly where to place him in quarterback rankings. He sometimes doesn’t even get included in the top 10.

While the Ravens finished 8-9 last season, they went 7-4 in the games that he started and finished. And he performed with a team beleaguered by injuries on both sides of the ball. The team’s entire backfield was wiped out by season-ending injuries in training camp, and the offensive line was shuffled, Ronnie Stanley again lost for the season after playing just one game.

On the year, Jackson completed 256 of 382 pass attempts for 2,882 yards with 16 touchdowns to 13 interceptions, by far the worst touchdown-to-interception ratio of his career. He rushed for 767 yards on 133 rushing attempts with two more touchdowns.

Baltimore traded away its former number-one wide receiver, Marquise Brown, this offseason, along with a third-round pick, in exchange for a first-round selection. The team also waived Miles Boykin, who was claimed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and is now fighting for a roster spot here.

The Ravens are hoping that last year’s first-round pick, Rashod Bateman, can be that true number one target Jackson has needed at wide receiver. He already has a famed connection with tight end Mark Andrews, but they understand that they have to help him take his passing game to the next level.

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