The Baltimore Ravens are doing their due diligence both in words and in deed as it concerns the quarterback position this offseason. Publicly, they’re not saying anything that they shouldn’t while negotiating with their presumptive quarterback, Lamar Jackson. But they’re also looking around in the draft.
Josina Anderson reported earlier in the week that the Ravens have a meeting or workout lined up with quarterback draft prospect Anthony Richardson, frequently listed as the third or fourth best in the class behind Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. Yet reporters had to pry an affirmative answer out of general manager Eric DeCosta about the position being in consideration in the first round.
“It depends on the board; it really does”, he said when posed the question, via the team’s website. “I mean, I’d have to say yes, because we have quarterbacks in our top 31. So, just based on that alone, simple math, I would have to say, yes”.
Of course, their ability to even be in consideration for such a move indeed depends on a variety of factors. Short of a notable quarterback sliding rather significantly, the Ravens would need additional ammunition that they don’t currently have in order to move up in the draft.
Like, say, trading Jackson, or allowing a team to sign him to an offer sheet, which would yield two first-round picks in compensation. They might have to flip both of those picks to move up enough, into perhaps the top five, in order to get Richardson. Or perhaps Richardson slides as more scouts go back to his actual tape.
The Ravens have been negotiating with Jackson on and off for rather a while now. It is widely believed that the sticking point is fully guaranteed money, which the Cleveland Browns gave Deshaun Watson last year.
Jackson is said to be holding out for a deal comparable to Watson’s, a five-year, $230 million contract that is fully guaranteed. He has said himself that the most the Ravens have offered in full guarantees is $133 million, presumably on a deal of the same length with at least as much in total value. It would still be the second-most fully guaranteed in a deal in NFL history.
Baltimore placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, and it has not been signed, which means that Jackson is not currently under contract. He has no obligation to report to the team unless he signs the tag or agrees to a new deal. He reported himself that he requested a trade in early March.
It remains unclear where this thing is headed. Some feel that Jackson will not be a Raven come September. Perhaps a team that fails to land a quarterback in the draft will decide to make the push and get a deal done for him, either through an offer sheet or a direct trade with the Ravens. The Pittsburgh Steelers may be as curious to know who Baltimore’s quarterback will be as will the Ravens—or perhaps not.