Lamar Jackson Rumors: Ravens QB Would Be Out vs. Bengals Even with New Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 13, 2023

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 07: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens warms-up prior to the game against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome on November 07, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Lamar Jackson's contract status didn't influence his availability for the Baltimore Ravens' AFC Wild Card Round matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Rapoport said Friday on The Pat McAfee Show the Ravens could be frustrated because "the end of two years—last season, this season—he has not recovered from an injury that I think, in other situations, other players might have been able to come back, which I don't think is his fault."

Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

"I don't think Lamar Jackson not playing has anything to do with him not having a deal"<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RapSheet</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PMSLive?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PMSLive</a> <a href="https://t.co/eZ8nFymThq">pic.twitter.com/eZ8nFymThq</a>

Rapoport added he doesn't believe the situation would be different if Jackson, who's due to be a free agent, had already signed a long-term extension with Baltimore.

Jackson seemed to address the speculation Thursday when he announced he has a Grade 2 PCL sprain:

Lamar Jackson @Lj_era8

remains unstable. I'm still in good spirits, as I continue with treatments on the road to recovery. I wish I could be out there with my guys more than anything but I can't give a 100% of myself to my guys and fans I'm still hopeful we still have a chance. 💜💜

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Friday he didn't expect Jackson to publicly address his injury and added he couldn't provide specifics:

Baltimore Ravens @Ravens

Coach Harbaugh on QB Lamar Jackson. <a href="https://t.co/hiimJ9sRXQ">pic.twitter.com/hiimJ9sRXQ</a>

While he probably won't eclipse Patrick Mahomes' record-setting $450 million extension, Jackson is poised to become one of the highest-paid players in the league if he signs a multiyear deal. Spotrac pegs his value at $244.6 million over six years.

Suffering a major injury in the 2022 postseason would jeopardize his odds of getting a massive payday, at least this offseason.

That, in turn, creates a situation where a small subsection of fans is bound to question Jackson's commitment, whether or not any evidence supports that thesis.

As Rapoport posited, the two-time Pro Bowler would almost assuredly make the same calculus if he had received the contract he sought earlier this year.

It's not like Jackson has nothing to gain financially from the playoffs since leading the Ravens to the Super Bowl would only give him more leverage. Imagine if Baltimore attempted to play hardball with its starting quarterback on the heels of a title.

Joe Flacco had the franchise over a barrel after being named Super Bowl XLVII MVP in 2013, and he collected every penny he could. Jackson would be in a similar position if he enjoyed a big postseason run.

The ongoing drama provides a compelling reason for why a team should avoid running down a quarterback's rookie deal.