Amid speculation over his future, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson made it clear that he was staying with the team and wants people to stop trying to “read his mind.”
Jackson, entering the fifth year of his rookie contract in 2022, has yet to finalize an extension for likely three main reasons.
One, he’s truly not worried about the money and wants to focus on getting healthy for 2022 as he has previously stated. Two, he’s biding his time in a quarterback market that continues to explode week after week. And three, he doesn’t have a formal agent, which puts him in a unique situation and could make negotiations with the team a tad more difficult.
NONE of those reasons suggest that Jackson isn’t committed to the team, but Jackson felt the need to tweet his opinions on the matter on Wednesday:
For context, the “false narrative” Jackson mentions could refer to a recent segment of Good Morning Football that discussed Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti’s comments on Jackson’s stalled contract negotiations. At one point, an NFL analyst breathed a very controversial question into the air: “Does Lamar not want to be there?”
Lamar Jackson re-affirms his commitment to the Baltimore Ravens for the foreseeable future
The analyst in question doesn’t elaborate too much on the topic and admits he has “no idea” and “no intuition,” and afterward, The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec tweeted that the segment was not as slanderous as Jackson has intimated.
But the damage was done, and the rumor mill is swiftly churning.
Yes, Jackson’s lack of a contract extension is somewhat baffling given that most NFL players want to get paid what they deserve (and for Jackson, that amount looks to be somewhere around $40-45 million a year).
Yes, Bisciotti’s comment that the team would pay Jackson “when he’s ready” isn’t something you usually hear from a franchise owner, but this offseason has produced far more head-scratching moments. The Cleveland Browns calling Baker Mayfield not an “adult,” for example, or Kyler Murray’s strained tensions with the Arizona Cardinals.
Bad takes like this only fuel more reckless speculation about Jackson’s future with the franchise, but Jackson could not have made his stance any clearer in his tweet.
While Jackson’s stalled contract negotiations admittedly are not a good look for the franchise, there should not even be a shred of doubt about Jackson’s loyalty to the team, deal or no deal in place. Jackson needs only put pen to paper to put this whole controversy to bed, but the 2019 MVP wants to do things his way.
Jackson surely knows how big of a risk it is to wait to extend his contract, as one small injury could cause all his money to go down the drain, but at the end of the day, he’s betting on himself.
And more important, he’s betting on himself as a Baltimore Ravens quarterback. It’s who he is and it’s who he plans to be.