Ravens GM: Lamar Jackson talks on hold until after season


BALTIMORE (AP) — Get ready for at least a few more months of uncertainty about Lamar Jackson and his contract.

Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement Friday that the Ravens and Jackson still haven’t agreed on an extension for the star quarterback and will keep working on it after the season. Jackson had said Friday was his deadline for a new deal, and he’d be pausing talks after that with the season about to start.

“Despite best efforts on both sides, we were unable to reach a contract extension with Lamar Jackson,” DeCosta said. “We greatly appreciate how he has handled this process and we are excited about our team with Lamar leading the way. We will continue to work towards a long-term contract after the season, but for now we are looking forward to a successful 2022 campaign.”

Jackson is entering his fifth-year option season. The Ravens open Sunday on the road against the New York Jets.

Jackson skipped voluntary OTAs this past offseason but did not hold out of mandatory practices. Baltimore can use the franchise tag to keep him after this season if need be, but this impasse between Jackson and the team is noteworthy after Josh Allen — another star quarterback drafted the same year as Jackson — signed his massive extension some 13 months ago.

“Those things will work themselves out in the end. I’m confident in that,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said at the team’s practice facility in Owings Mills, Maryland. “I said at the beginning that it will happen when it’s time, and when it’s time, it will happen. So, Lamar is playing quarterback, he’s going to be playing quarterback here for a long time.”

Jackson spoke with reporters Wednesday, when time was running out to reach a deal before the season. He and the team have avoided any real public acrimony through this process.

“He and I talked about it yesterday a little bit, like, ‘Hey, man, let’s go be our best, and go focus on football,’” Harbaugh said. “That’s what he’s been doing all along, so I know nothing will change with that.”

The non-exclusive franchise tag for quarterbacks this past offseason carried a price tag of just under $30 million. No team used it on a quarterback, and no team used the more restrictive exclusive tag on anyone.

Even aside from his uncertain contract, Jackson is under a microscope this season. At times in 2021, he looked like the player who was the league’s MVP two years earlier. At other times, he struggled to handle the pass rush.

He eventually missed the final four games following an ankle injury. Baltimore finished the season on a six-game skid and missed the playoffs.

By Noah Trister

AP Sports Writer

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