Lamar Jackson will be the Baltimore Ravens‘ quarterback in 2023. And he’ll be throwing passes to Odell Beckham Jr., whom Jackson reportedly recruited to Charm City.
The only question at this point is how much will he make. Will Jackon play under the $32.4 million franchise tag? Or will he and the Ravens finally agree to a long-term extension?
But one of those two outcomes is basically inevitable at this point.
What Odell Beckham Jr. Signing Means For Lamar Jackson
You can be forgiven if the previous three paragraphs are confusing to read. They were confusing to write. But much has changed since Beckham announced on Instagram Easter Sunday that he was signing with the Ravens.
Beckham, who has not played in an NFL game since tearing his ACL 14 months ago, signed a one-year deal worth a reported $15 million with Baltimore.
That was surprise No. 1.
Surprise No. 2?
The social media post from Jackson a few hours later that showed him and Beckham celebrating the news.
Quarterbacks who want out of town — which was Jackson’s MO as recently as two weeks ago — don’t often celebrate the successes of teams for whom they no longer want to play. So something changed in the last couple of weeks. Perhaps it was a good-faith effort by Ravens GM Eric DeCosta to make contract concessions to the former league MVP.
(DeCosta, for his part, declined comment on the Jackson situation during his pre-draft news conference, saying the following:
“I understand the need to ask those kinds of questions. I think — just out of respect for the process — this is a draft luncheon, and we’re going to try to keep as much of this discussion as we can to the draft, to the coming weeks [and] building the best football team we can build.
“So, I understand those questions. I think we’ve spoken about this situation probably five different times this spring in various different press conferences and such. So, we’re going to try to just kind of defer to those questions and move forward to the draft.”)
Perhaps the about-face was Jackson coming to the realization that his contract demands — said to be north of $200 million in guaranteed money — would never be met. Not by the Ravens. And not by anyone else.
We’ll surely learn more in the coming days. But there’s no doubt that Jackson, at this point, is not only preparing to play with the Ravens in 2023 but is enacting influence on the front office’s personnel decisions.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Jackson recruited Beckham to Baltimore, a closing sales pitch that gave the Ravens and Lamar a weapon they’ve lacked for some time.
Jackson is an eccentric guy. But he’s also a loyal one, particularly to his friends, which Beckham is. That would suggest that Lamar gave Beckam assurances that Jackson would be Baltimore’s QB1 in 2023.
Beyond that? Anyone’s guess.
And while it’s conceivable that another team could sign Jackson to an offer sheet in the coming months, there’s little reason to think that will happen tomorrow when it could have happened a month ago.
Teams have spent their cap resources, and most of those who still need quarterbacks plan to get one in the draft. There’s simply no market for Jackson that’s better than the one he has in Baltimore.
And the Beckham signing reflects that reality.
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