New Report On Lamar Jackson's Injury Puts Ravens In Interesting Position As John Harbaugh Declines To Comment On QB

Although nothing has been made official, Lamar Jackson is not expected to play in Sunday's regular season finale. The 25-year-old quarterback did not practice on Wednesday and continues to work back from a knee injury.

He has not played a down of football since December 4, 2022.

In Jackson's absence, the Ravens have struggled. As a result, it puts him and the organization in a very interesting position as ongoing negotiations continue in regard to his future.

Jackson is currently playing on his final year of his contract with the team. He is seeking a new deal that is fully guaranteed, and the two sides did not reach an agreement prior to the season.

As a result, Lamar Jackson is set to become a free agent at the end of the season.

Typically, an injury would lower a pending free agent's desirability. Not in Jackson's case.

He sprained his PCL against the Broncos in Week 14. While all injuries come with concern, this particular setback for the former Heisman Trophy winner was, and is, relatively minor.

With Jackson on the sideline, over the last three weeks, Baltimore has ranked 31st in both offensive points per game and red zone touchdown percentage, ahead of only the New York Jets. The Ravens have scored an average of 11 points on offense without their star quarterback and scored just one touchdown per every four trips to the red zone.

Jackson's absence directly correlates to a lack of offensive output and it is clear how much Baltimore needs him in the lineup. And while he likely will not play this weekend, NFL inside Ian Rapoport said on the Pat McAfee Show that the organization expects Jackson to be back for the playoffs.

"I was told that the Ravens are confident in Lamar Jackson returning for the playoffs," Rapoport said.

This new report adds an interesting wrinkle to an already strained situation in Baltimore.

The value of having Jackson on the field has been made abundantly clear since his injury. He is looking to get paid a large amount of money during the offseason.

If a sprained PCL has kept him off of the field for over a month, who is to say that Jackson may not feel ready to go by the playoffs? Should he risk further injury and a lesser pay day for the playoffs?

Jackson, as a competitor, will surely be on the field as soon as he is ready to compete for a Super Bowl. There is no doubt that he wants to play. He played the entire season without a new deal.

Jackson, as a business man looking to secure his future, may not be as quick to hop back in the saddle. Would you?

And now that the team is reportedly "confident" that he is returning for the playoffs, what happens if he doesn't? What happens if the organization clears him to play, but Jackson chooses to sit out?

Rapoport's report is exactly that. It is a report, not a definitive statement.

However, by putting this out there, Rapoport leaves a lot of questions on the table and created an expectation that may not be met. If it is not met, and Jackson doesn't return for the playoffs, the glaring discrepancies between player and team will be on full display.

Head coach John Harbaugh is choosing not to comment on the matter.

I’m probably just going to leave all that stuff alone. I’m going to focus on the game and just get ready to coach our guys and have our guys get ready to play the game.

The waiting game continues. Jackson's status remains under wraps and his contract negotiations continue behind the scenes.