The fact Lamar Jackson isn’t attending the Baltimore Ravens’ organized team activities is no reason for concern.
At least, that’s the philosophy of new team president Sashi Brown.
“Voluntary does mean voluntary,” Brown told reporters on Thursday. “Lamar’s been out working this offseason. … So no, I don’t think any reason for alarm.”
Now, that’s all dandy, but everyone knows that Jackson is set to enter the final year of his rookie contract, and undoubtedly in search of a long-term extension. So there’s that — voluntary or not.
But Brown says, hey man, don’t sweat it.
“He’s been very vocal in terms of his support and desire to be in Baltimore,” Brown said. “We’re pleased that he’s out there working and not going to make a big deal out of this.”
Jackson will earn about $23 million next season, per reports, after the Ravens exercised his fifth-year option. So he has 23 million reasons to be engaged, as Brown swears Jackson is.
“There are some concerns when it comes to Jackson and his long-term viability, but there is no denying the success he has enjoyed over his first four NFL seasons,” Bleacher Report wrote, summing up the state of things fairly accurately.
For all the fuss, Jackson has not been great in the biggest of games, particularly in the playoffs. You can also count on one Ravens letdown each season against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, their AFC North rivals. And let’s not forget that Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals are coming off a banner season, reaching the Super Bowl.
So the Ravens as good as Jackson has been, the Ravens will need him to be even better. The division seems to be up for grabs these days.
“Jackson hasn’t given any indication that he intends to hold out if the Ravens don’t sign him to an extension before the 2022 season, but skipping OTAs may be Jackson’s way of showing that he has leverage if he wants to use it,” Bleacher Report wrote.
In other words, there is likely a little more to Jackson skipping Baltimore’s OTAs than Brown is willing to admit.