How often does a team with a presumed franchise quarterback schedule a meeting with a quarterback widely regarded as a first-round draft pick? Such questions are typically posed for rhetorical purposes, but in this case, it concerns the Baltimore Ravens and their ongoing issues in getting Lamar Jackson under contract.
Jackson, by his own acknowledgement, has been offered a contract by the Ravens that included $133 million fully guaranteed, presumably over a five-year contract, but if he weren’t looking for more than that, he would presumably have signed by now. He also revealed that he asked for a trade over a month ago.
Meanwhile, the Ravens appear to be exploring their options, whether in earnest or as a negotiating tactic. They are set to meet with quarterback Anthony Richardson, according to Josina Anderson, during a pre-draft visit. Richardson has become widely regarded as the number three quarterback in this class behind Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud.
At the moment, Baltimore holds the 22nd pick in the first round, which is unlikely to be anywhere close to in range to draft Richardson. Draft simulators have him going as early as third overall. And the Ravens have no 2023 second-round draft pick, which they sent to the Chicago Bears last year for Roquan Smith. They only have five picks in total, with none in the seventh round.
The odds of Baltimore ever being in a position to draft Richardson are minimal, at least not without giving up significant assets outside of 2023 draft picks. That would have to come in the form of either future draft picks or in current veteran players, if not a combination of both in addition to 2023 draft compensation.
Because of the likelihood that the Ravens would not be in range of drafting Richardson, I would presuppose that this move is more of a message and negotiating tactic aimed at Jackson, who continues to take a hardline stance regarding his contract demands.
Baltimore only applied the non-exclusive franchise tag to Jackson, which has enabled him to speak with other teams and theoretically sign an offer sheet. Should that ever come to pass, the Ravens would have the option of matching the offer and keeping Jackson or declining to match and being compensated with two first-round picks.
Of course, it could also signal Baltimore’s intention to signal to other teams that it is willing to deal. If the Ravens can secure a couple of extra first-round picks ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, then they would have the resources necessary to move up and land Richardson.