Lamar Jackson deal done, Baltimore Ravens breathe sigh of relief before NFL Draft
By Ryan Heckman
It is done. It is finished. The Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson have reached an agreement on a new deal, right in time for the 2023 NFL Draft to kick off.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Jackson and the Ravens came to the agreement Thursday afternoon just after 4PM ET. That gives the team about four hours to game plan accordingly, for the draft, now that they have their star quarterback locked down.
"Once Jalen Hurts got his deal, Baltimore stepped up and, essentially, made Lamar Jackson an offer he could not refuse," Rapoport said live on NFL Network
For weeks now, the Ravens have had to come up with contingency plans if a deal did not get done. It was becoming a distraction, and a whole lot more work for the front office. Baltimore enters the draft with only five draft picks to work with, which is not enough.
Now, the Ravens can move forward with the draft and their plans to make a push for the AFC crown in 2023. With Jackson, that's possible. Without him, it wouldn't be. At long last, the two sides were able to come together.
Lamar Jackson's new contract gives the Baltimore Ravens options in the 2023 NFL Draft
Before the contract got done, the Ravens had to seriously consider a quarterback in the draft. It might sound crazy, but it's the truth. Tyler Huntley isn't the future of this team, and if Jackson wasn't there, then the organization really had no identity at the position.
Now, they have the most important position locked down, for the future, and it just so happens that he's a former MVP.
At pick no. 22, the Ravens can now think clearly about the needs they have within their roster. Those needs include cornerback, edge rusher, wide receiver, among others.
With Odell Beckham Jr. as Jackson's new top target, maybe the team goes out and gets another All Pro like DeAndre Hopkins, taking wide receiver out of the "need" category for Baltimore. Imagine Jackson, Beckham and Hopkins in the same offense. That would be downright scary.
For now, Ravens fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as can everyone within that building, and look forward to an exciting night when the draft officially opens up.