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Will he, or won't he?

Will he or won’t he? That is the question. Lamar Jackson has been a hot topic recently due to his ongoing saga with the Baltimore Ravens. In March, Jackson revealed via his Twitter that he requested a trade from the Ravens, who he had been engaging with in talks about a new contract. To understand how we got here, let’s go back to the beginning.

The Ravens traded up to draft Jackson with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. In June 2018, Jackson signed a four-year, $9.47 million rookie contract. It’s important to note that Jackson did not have an official agent at the time and signed the deal alongside his mother. In December 2018, Jackson was named the Ravens starting quarterback after filling in for an injured Joe Flacco.

Jackson was named NFL MVP during an impressive 2019-2020 season while guiding the Ravens to a 14-2 season. Fast forward to April 2021 when the Ravens exercised the fifth year option on Jackson’s rookie contract. This move secured their starting QB through the 2022 season and guaranteed him $23 million.

June 2021 is where things began to go wrong for the two parties. Jackson was eligible for a new deal and was negotiating a long-term deal with the Ravens, but he was still without an agent. On top of this, conflicting reports were being made about his mother’s role in contract talks.

In December 2021, Jackson suffered an ankle injury and missed the final four games of the regular season. This season went down as the first non-playoff season the Ravens had seen since drafting Jackson in 2018.

Throughout the 2022 offseason, contract talks between both parties continue without coming to an agreement. Meanwhile, other notable quarterbacks like Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson signed unprecedented deals with the Cardinals and Browns, respectively. Representatives from the Ravens front office have claimed that they offered Jackson a deal in the same ballpark as Murray’s $230.5 million extension, but he declined. Jackson’s 2022 season ended with a PCL sprain, missing the team’s last five regular season games and ruled himself out of the team’s playoff game, which resulted in a loss.

New year, same drama. Last month, the Ravens used their non-exclusive tag on Jackson, essentially buying themselves more time to negotiate with him while also allowing other teams to do the same. At that same time, other teams quickly took themselves out of the mix, making it clear that they would not pursue Jackson for reasons that remain unclear.

Throughout March, we’ve seen teams bow out one by one on Jackson, basically taking us all back to square one with the Ravens, who are still working with him even though he has requested a trade. Recently, the Ravens have made some noise by signing Odell Beckham Jr. to a one-year deal, and it seems as if Jackson will be his quarterback.

It looks like Lamar does not have too many options, since the Ravens are currently the only team discussing deals with him. There is a lot of speculation around talks between the two parties because, as I’ve previously mentioned, Jackson does not have an agent. This means that teams are only allowed to speak with Jackson himself. This could prove to be a bad move on Jackson’s part because of the way he’s been negotiating and the way he thinks of his worth.

Check the stats, Jackson may have won MVP in 2019, but what has happened since that season? Injuries on top of injuries and playoff exit on top of playoff exit. With Jackson trying to negotiate his own deals, he may only be hurting himself in the long run, which could be why teams bowed out on him so fast. The main thing in all of this is the idea that it’s perfectly fine to ask to be paid what you’re worth, but it’s also a great idea to have someone in your corner, an agent, that knows when you are not yet worth your current asking price.

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