Despite it seeming clear he was more than in on the sales pitch, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said during his introductory press conference that he got no assurances of any kind from quarterback Lamar Jackson that he would be on the field with him in a Baltimore Ravens uniform come September.
The former All-Pro wide receiver had been making the rounds after missing the 2022 season with a knee injury, but once he got to Baltimore, they wouldn’t let him leave. The Ravens stepped up with a one-year contract worth $15 million in base value, and another $3 million in relatively achievable incentives based on production numbers.
Soon after the deal was done, Beckham and Jackson hung out at a club. Jackson posted on social media an image of them FaceTiming together. But will they actually play together? I think the odds favor that happening, but nothing is fully guaranteed—especially not his contract offers.
During a one-on-one interview with the team’s website, Beckham took a moment to address the camera and said, “Lamar, if you’re watching, I would love to get to work with you”. He added that he did sign believing that Jackson would be his quarterback, and also that that is his goal.
The wide receiver was due to take a visit with the New York Jets, who are still expected to complete a trade for future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but that trade hasn’t been finalized for more than a month now. The Green Bay Packers are believed to be holding out for a first-round draft pick.
Beckham did go into some detail about his conversations with Jackson and revealed that the quarterback essentially told him to just trust things would work out. Jackson has been offered $133 million fully guaranteed, according to the quarterback himself, on a deal that would presumably be at least as large as the five-year, $230 million contract the Cleveland Browns gave Deshaun Watson last year, if not larger.
“I can definitely tell you that he was excited about the opportunity to be able to get to work if that does present itself”, Beckham said of his potential quarterback. “At the end of the day, he’s obviously who I would love to play with”.
A 2018 first-round draft pick, Jackson has nearly a .750 winning percentage since entering the league, going 45-16 as the starter of record. He finished 8-4 last season, and 7-5 the year before that, however, in 24 games. He missed five games each year due to injury. Baltimore missed the postseason in 2021 and was eliminated in the opening round last season, without him.
One of the Ravens’ biggest Achilles heels throughout their history has been nailing the wide receiver position. They have had to rely on free agency to find their most noteworthy contributors there—which is probably a big part of the reason why they were willing to give Beckham more than what likely any other team would have. That, and it might just help ensure that Jackson is in the purple and black later this year.