Breaking down Lamar Jackson’s cryptic message after Ravens’ early playoff exit

Ravens, Lamar Jackson. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Ravens, Lamar Jackson. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Has Lamar Jackson played his last game as a Baltimore Raven? The star quarterback’s future is drawing more attention now that the Ravens’ season is over, and his recent social media post only adds to the mystique.

Jackson and the Ravens failed to agree to a contract extension prior to the 2022 season with Jackson intimating that negotiation talks would resume after the season ended.

Well, Baltimore’s season ended in the worst possible way on Sunday night as the Ravens lost in heartbreaking fashion to a hated AFC North rival, and many noticed that Jackson didn’t travel with the team to Cincinnati. Cause for concern? Perhaps.

Jackson posted a befuddling message to his Instagram story following the team’s early playoff exit, and while it wasn’t exactly addressed to the Ravens, it wasn’t not addressed to them either.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson fuels trade rumors with latest social media post

“Because when you take care of something good, that good thing takes care of you too.”

One can only assume Jackson is referring to his relationship to the Ravens, the team that drafted him back in 2018 and built their roster around him.

Could Jackson be issuing a veiled threat to Baltimore, insinuating that the “good thing” is himself and that the team shouldn’t risk losing him this offseason? It would certainly be one way to look at it.

The Ravens, after all, refused to give him a fully guaranteed contract in the same ballpark as that of Deshaun Watson, which is presumably what Jackson desires.

The drama surrounding Jackson’s PCL sprain has only exacerbated trade rumors, and it seems like there has been at least some disconnect between Jackson and the Ravens regarding his recovery timeline.

When Jackson’s motives were questioned, head coach John Harbaugh didn’t explicitly back the star quarterback. He has more often than not refused to speak on the matter, and he even said he was caught off guard by Jackson’s Twitter post revealing the details of his knee sprain.

Unless Harbaugh directly dismisses notions that Jackson’s contract status might have influenced his availability, anything is fair game. The rumor mill, as always, will continue to churn.

An anonymous league executive recently told The Athletic:

"“I see a divorce unless their doctors are privately telling them Lamar really can’t play because of the injury, which seems doubtful with the way Harbaugh has handled it. I could see a trade next spring if they can get a high enough pick to get a new QB. Lamar appears to have a ceiling that Jalen Hurts poked through this year. Harbaugh is making it seem like they are tired of the situation. They will never give him the Watson-type contract he reportedly covets.”"

All options are on the table when it comes to Jackson’s future with the team. The Ravens can place the franchise tag on him — which seems most likely — or hash out a long-term extension this offseason.

Since drafting Jackson, the Ravens have won 71 percent of their games with him under center, a testament to just how crucial he is in the offensive scheme.

NFL insider ‘strongly expects’ the Ravens to trade Lamar Jackson. dark. Next

Whether or not the Ravens feel Jackson is important and an irreplaceable cornerstone piece for the future is a different story.