Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson told his side of the story Monday morning and oh boy, did he have a story to tell. In a long tweet-thread to kick off the week, Jackson, currently franchise tagged by the Ravens, revealed he requested a trade earlier this month.
He says he asked the Ravens to trade him on March 2nd.
Jackson says the Ravens’ organization “has not been interested in meeting my value” as the two sides have struggled to hammer out a long-term deal. Jackson is looking for a fully guaranteed deal matching or surpassing the $230 million contract Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson received last year. Baltimore placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on him March 7th, five days after his trade request, allowing other teams to submit offer sheets and potentially sign Jackson away.
Reports have always indicated that the Ravens planned to match any offer sheet that came in but knowing Jackson wants out, perhaps Baltimore would let him go if a team offered him a contract, embracing the Steelers’ “volunteers, not hostages” mantra. However, there have been no reports of any team being seriously interested in submitting an offer sheet to Jackson. The closest “report” out there is that the Indianapolis Colts haven’t ruled out the idea of pursuing him.
Jackson’s tweets occurred at the exact same time as Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was speaking to the media during the league’s Owner Meetings. Of course, Harbaugh was asked for comment and if the team would trade Jackson. Harbaugh didn’t seem to rule it out though he said the offense is still being built around Jackson.
Harbaugh says he’s “looking for a resolution” in the situation and is “confident” he and the team will get to focus on football.
Jackson’s current backup is Tyler Huntley, who has replaced an injured Jackson each of the last two seasons. Huntley’s play has been generally ineffective and the Ravens’ offense has struggled without Jackson in the lineup.
It’s been a difficult offseason for the Ravens. Their strength and conditoning coach was fired and blasted by players, their top wide receiver called out their GM, and Baltimore has been largely inactive during the offseason, perhaps in part due to the weight of the franchise tag has on its salary cap.
While Jackson is tagged, he has not signed the tag and there’s no law that says he must — Steelers fans with Le’Veon Bell know that well. If Jackson is truly unhappy in Baltimore, and it certainly seems like he is, he has no reason to sign the tag and play on it in 2023. Where this goes from here, it’s hard to say. But Jackson’s clear signal he wants out may motivate teams around the league to seriously consider making a run at him.