Although Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson returned to the team for this week's mandatory minicamp after skipping voluntary practices, there's reportedly "not a lot of optimism" the sides will agree on a contract extension before the 2022 season.
ESPN's Jamison Hensley reported Wednesday the Ravens "hope" Jackson's return to the team facilities can spark conversations, but the 2019 NFL MVP has "yet to engage" the front office in contract talks.
Despite the lack of long-term certainty, a potential blockbuster trade involving the 2018 first-round pick is "not on the radar" for Baltimore, per Hensley.
In March, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta confirmed they were waiting for Jackson to join them at the negotiating table.
"I think it takes two sides to actively put their heads together and get a deal worked out," DeCosta told reporters. "We are ready to be there for Lamar at any point when he decides that he really wants to work on it, we will be."
It sparked speculation about whether Jackson wanted to leave Baltimore, which he denied in a Twitter post:
The 25-year-old University of Louisville product hasn't explained why he decided to skip the voluntary practices or his decision to avoid extension talks despite getting ready to enter the final year of his rookie contract.
He didn't speak to the media after Tuesday's session, but head coach John Harbaugh noted the quarterback's return was a welcome sight.
"He's physically in very good shape. I thought his arm looked really good," Harbaugh said. "You can see he's been throwing a lot. You can see he's in great physical condition. It's great to have him out there. He kind of boosted everybody's spirits, too."
The situation isn't under a lot of time pressure.
Jackson is coming off his worst statistical season in three years as the Ravens' full-time starter—16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions as a passer and a career-low two rushing scores—and he missed the final four games of the campaign with an ankle injury.
On the flip side, Baltimore's front office has the franchise tag in its back pocket for 2023 and potentially 2024 if an extension remains out of reach.
The Ravens would likely prefer to get a new deal in place for the added financial clarity, but they have no choice but to wait for Jackson to decide he's ready to discuss terms.