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Ravens '200%' Plan to Retain Lamar Jackson Ahead of Contract Talks, Harbaugh Says

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 19, 2023

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens drops back to pass against the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh made it abundantly clear that the team wants to keep quarterback Lamar Jackson around long term in a postseason chat with reporters on Thursday.

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"Lamar Jackson is our quarterback... Every thing we've done... is based on this incredible young man." <a href="https://t.co/dw6jPHQt7R">pic.twitter.com/dw6jPHQt7R</a>

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh, on whether the team intends to keep Lamar Jackson: "100 percent, you know, 200 percent."

Contract extension talks between Jackson and the team before the 2022 campaign did not lead to a long-term deal. He will become a free agent this offseason unless the Ravens come to an agreement with him or place the franchise tag on the five-year pro.

However, Harbaugh let it be known that he and general manager Eric DeCosta "love" Jackson, a two-time Pro Bowler who won the 2019 NFL MVP during his first full season as a starting signal-caller.

"Lamar Jackson is our quarterback," Harbaugh said. "I love Lamar. Eric loves Lamar. I'm going to have faith that it's going to get done. It's going to get done."

DeCosta told reporters that the team has no intention of trading Jackson.

Ari Meirov @MySportsUpdate

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ravens?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Ravens</a> GM Eric DeCosta on if he's willing to entertain trade offers for Lamar Jackson: "That's not something we're going to talk about at this point. Our focus is to get a long-term deal done."

Jackson suffered a Grade 2 PCL sprain of his left knee in a Dec. 4 matchup against the Denver Broncos and subsequently missed the remainder of the season.

For the year, he completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 2,242 yards and 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Jackson also rushed for 764 yards and three scores.

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, Jackson, who represents himself, reportedly turned down a five-year extension worth over $250 million (including $133 million guaranteed) before the season.

The reported hangup between the two sides was Jackson's desire to have a fully guaranteed deal a la Deshaun Watson, who inked a five-year, $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns last year.

After how the Ravens' season ended, the price likely went up for Jackson's services.

Jackson didn't replicate his 2019 MVP form this season, but the Ravens averaged only 13.1 points per game in the seven contests (including the Broncos matchup) with him out. They failed to top 17 points in any of those games.

With Jackson in the lineup, the Ravens averaged 25 points per game over their first 11 matchups. They scored 19 or more points in each of their first nine games.

Harbaugh told reporters that Jackson will be involved in the team's choosing of its next offensive coordinator after it parted ways with Greg Roman on Thursday. Jackson was also "close" to returning from his PCL sprain, per Harbaugh, so the injury doesn't appear to be a long-term concern.

The Ravens clearly need Jackson back, as he's been the catalyst for them making the playoffs in four of the past five years.

Harbaugh and DeCosta aren't being secretive about how they feel. The question will be whether that translates to Baltimore giving Jackson the money he feels he deserves.