Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is ready to move on.
On Monday, Jackson released a letter to fans publicly announcing his desire to be traded, explaining he requested a trade from the organization on March 2 because Baltimore was unwilling to meet his demands in contract talks.
“Any and everyone that has met me or been around me knows I love the game of football, and my dream is to help a team win the super bowl,” Jackson wrote. “You all are great, but I had to make a business decision that was best for my family and I.”
Mitchell Schwartz, an analyst for The 33rd Team, thinks Jackson might be too frustrated to work out an extension with Baltimore.
“Lamar clearly feels disrespected by the Ravens,” Schwartz said. “He feels like he needs to get out of there because he’s not going to accomplish his tasks. What happens from the player’s perspective is sometimes you just get frustrated and pissed off at the people you’re negotiating with. It doesn’t matter what they come back with. The dam has already broken.”
Following the 2022 season, the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, hoping to leverage a long-term agreement. The tag allowed Jackson to negotiate with other teams, while the Ravens could match any offer. If Baltimore didn’t match Jackson’s offer sheet, the team signing Jackson would have to trade two first-round picks.
Clearly, Jackson has no intention of playing for the Ravens this coming season, but Baltimore isn’t giving up yet.
Jackson’s announcement coincided with Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s news conference at the NFL’s annual owners’ meeting. Harbaugh was evident in his desire to retain Jackson, saying he expects Jackson to be the Ravens’ QB1 in 2023.
“I’m getting ready for Lamar,” Harbaugh told reporters. “When Lamar gets back on this train, it’s moving full speed.”
To facilitate any trade, Jackson would have to sign the non-exclusive tag, which would pay him $32.4 million in 2023. That would allow the Ravens to accept less than two first-round picks in a trade and for Jackson to negotiate an extension with his new team. The Green Bay Packers and Las Vegas came to a similar agreement in last year’s Davante Adams trade.
The added trade-compensation flexibility could open up Jackson’s market. When the Ravens placed the tag on Jackson, many teams immediately declared they wouldn’t pursue the former MVP. Some point to Jackson representing himself as a roadblock, but moving two first-round picks and meeting Jackson’s demands for a fully-guaranteed contract is a steep price.
Chase Daniel, current Los Angeles Chargers quarterback and The 33rd Team analyst, isn’t sure Jackson’s request will change his situation much.
“On one hand, Lamar needs to do what’s best for him,” Daniel said. “However, I just don’t know where he’s going to end up. What does the contract look like? Who is going to pay him a fully guaranteed contract?”
Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, played the 2022 season on his fifth-year option. The Ravens selected Jackson at the end of the first round in 2018, and he led the team to a 45-16 record in five seasons.