This week has started out in a tough manner, if you're a Ravens fan hoping for Lamar Jackson to stick around.
The contract situation between Baltimore and Jackson has been an ongoing saga for weeks now, and Jackson's initial rejection of a deal that would pay him up to $200 million in guaranteed money after a spring bonus looks like a potentially-smart move on the quarterback's part.
To bring things a little bit further into reality, the Ravens begin their offseason program on Tuesday. According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Jackson will be one of four NFL players to be absent from their team's offseason programs beginning this week.
The Ravens and Lamar Jackson still have time to work out a long-term extension
While it might feel like the sky is falling and the drama never ends as a Ravens fan, right now, the reality is, there is still plenty of time. Baltimore and Jackson have until July 17 to come to an agreement on a long-term deal, before Jackson will have to make a decision.
If no deal is reached, then Jackson is locked into the franchise tag and could opt to sit out the 2023 season.
The one thing that's going to tell us all a whole lot about the future of Jackson and the Ravens is what happens during the 2023 NFL Draft. Do the Ravens and general manager Eric DeCosta actually back up their bold words and go with a contingency plan?
If the Ravens draft a quarterback within the first two or three rounds, then things will have truly taken a turn for the worse between the two sides. At that point, if I'm a Ravens fan that wants Jackson to stick around (and every fan should) then I'm getting antsy.