The offseason was one packed full of stories surrounding Baltimore and the Ravens. Things got kickstarted early with the staredown between the franchise and superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson. Then, there was the obvious tension between Baltimore and running back J.K. Dobbins. And on and on it goes...
At the end of the day, though, Lamar got (almost) what he wanted and inked the richest contract in NFL history, a five-year, $260 million pact.
Dobbins, while still without an extension on his table presented by the Ravens, can't complain about his situation as he's basically the no. 1 rusher entering next season, and, if he produces to expectations following the end of last year, odds are he ends up getting a contract offer in due time.
It's hard to come up with a single name, between these two, for who will be the most "scrutinized" member of the Ravens organization in 2023. That is what The Athletic asked four beat reporters of the teams pertaining to the AFC North division a few days ago, including Ravens' Jeff Zrebiec.
"It would be easy to say Jackson, one of the most scrutinized players in the NFL; or Beckham, a lightning rod to begin with who will garner even more curiosity after not playing last year. For the sake of nonconformity, I’ll go with Dobbins."- Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic
When asked that question, Zrebiec came up with Dobbins' name on top of Jackson's and, also, Odel Beckham Jr. (who himself signed a hefty $15 million deal with Baltimore this offseason).
"[Dobbins] hasn’t spoken to the team’s beat writers since he accused the organization of holding him back following the playoff loss in Cincinnati in January," Zrebiec revealed for an already-hot start to his blurb.
Zrebiec also pointed out that Dobbins "didn’t participate in the team’s voluntary workout program," as well as missed the mandatory minicamp held by the team earlier this preseason.
According to the Ravens' beat reporter, it "sure seemed like" Dobbins' contract (he's entering his fourth and final guaranteed year under a rookie deal) "had something to do with his decision" to skip practices.
Zrebiec thinks Dobbins is "an emotional guy" and that he "has surely taken note of how unfriendly the open market is to running backs." That might explain his recent behavior, or maybe he's in for a long fight with the organization on his way to getting his much-coveted extension.
In any case, and as the beat reporter points out, it will be "interesting" to watch all of this unfold for the next few weeks and into the regular season to see whether or not Dobbins can stay healthy for the full campaign and produce to a level that justifies his demands or what he's implying these days with his off-field actions.