The Ravens’ contract negotiations with Lamar Jackson have gone from bad to worse

Yahoo Sports NFL writers Charles Robinson and Frank Schwab talk about Lamar Jackson’s contract situation with the Baltimore Ravens, and explain how the Ravens have continued to dig themselves deeper into a hole.

Video transcription


CHARLES ROBINSON: We need to talk about Lamar Jackson. Eric DeCosta, general manager of the Ravens, comes out. You listen to him. He is holding this press conference. And you’re sitting there going, is this the same deal? He talks about the same thing – nothing has changed in six weeks. All this time they had to work on this, they got nowhere with him, nothing. Hi, we like the player and I spoke to him. But there is no indication that they have made any progress.

I think it’s now getting worse for the Ravens because Rashod Bateman– Eric DeCosta makes this comment– and I’m going to paraphrase here, but he’s talking about evaluating wide receivers. And he’s basically saying– and I’m pretty close to the quote here– if I knew the secret behind it when it came to evaluating wide receivers in the draft, I’d probably have better receivers. The second you hear that quote, you think it’s going to resonate. There are some guys who aren’t going to be thrilled about it.

Well, Rashod Bateman, 2021 first round pick from Minnesota, wide receiver, has had some injury issues there, wasn’t happy about it. So he quotes that tweet, quotes tweets about it, and basically just rips DeCosta and says, I’m sick of you blaming the wide receivers and 8, number 8, Lamar Jackson. So he literally claps back at GM and puts Lamar Jackson’s name in the clapback, which I think is a big deal, because it shows you that there’s an amalgamation of – there’s a group in there. They form against the Ravens’ leadership.

And I think it’s lame, and I think it’s those receivers. And I think they are tired of theirs [BLEEP]. I think they’re like, look, Greg Roman did what he did. If you want to blame someone for the way the offense worked, blame the guy you just broke up with, fired, whatever you want to call it. Yeah, so he’s pissed.

And on top of that, the NFLPA puts out these — Jori Epstein and I talked about it — put out these report cards on teams. The Ravens’ strength coach, with whom they have now parted ways, received a grade of F minus. And the NFLPA made a point to say that not only was it 32nd, dead last in the league, but there was a pretty significant gap between 31st and 32nd.. They were last, and they were last by a mile. So it’s no surprise they got rid of this guy.

It comes out. You had a couple of former Ravens players come out after it started saying on Twitter, my career was ruined there. Here are the injuries I sustained. And I think the reason it’s also bad in the Lamar Jackson situation is because Lamar ended the season and basically refused to go back and play. We thought, is this contract related? I think it’s fair now to wonder if Lamar is in that group that I don’t trust this team with injuries.

It’s bad, every indicator. If this was a stock, this is a stock market, and we look at it, this [BLEEP] is like Blockbuster. It’s like… we’re like, wait, what’s wrong with the video film industry? And then a couple of years later, you’re like, oh my god, why do I still own Blockbuster stock? This is a total disaster. That’s how this feels right now. It is wrong.

FRANK SCHWAB: I understand. But the one thing DeCosta said that I actually thought was really interesting is that you don’t want to live in a world without a quarterback in the NFL.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Everyone says that. Everyone says that.

FRANK SCHWAB: But it’s true, Charles, because at some point, if we’re going to say this is not going to go well, the Ravens, Lamar Jackson, okay, you have to answer for me — anybody who wants to trade him to Atlanta or Carolina or the Raiders or wherever, you have to answer for me, who is the baltimore ravens’ starting quarterback week one? If your answer is Tyler Huntley, if you’ve gone from a 26-year-old MVP elite quarterback to being in your 30s as your starting quarterback–

CHARLES ROBINSON: He left out the important part, Frank. He said you don’t want to live in a world without a quarterback. He didn’t say you don’t want to live in a world without a guaranteed $250 million quarterback. He didn’t say that [BLEEP]. OK?

Do you think that the Arizona Cardinals–do you think that the Arizona Cardinals are sitting there right now going, well, man, we didn’t want to live without our $45 million APY quarterback. And god, man, we don’t want to live in that world. Do you think the Packers sit there and go, God, man, we really couldn’t live without Aaron Rodgers and that $50 million APY salary and then the $60 million balloon payment he has such a hard time taking. Do you think the Denver Broncos are sitting there going, oh, man, we couldn’t live without our $200 million guaranteed money quarterback. OK, [BLEEP] thereafter. They can say–

FRANK SCHWAB: But if the Ravens are– if the Ravens are like that, we’re not going to pay this guy, all right. But you still put– these are the quarterbacks everyone covets. And just to voluntarily move on from him at 26–

CHARLES ROBINSON: The stakes are high. The stakes are higher than ever.

FRANK SCHWAB: Again, you have to answer who is your week a quarterback. You have to answer that. And if your answer is Tyler Huntley, it’s like, what have we done?


FRANK SCHWAB: This can get you started on the Broncos’ 2016-to-present trajectory.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Frank, you told me that all last season you were clearly happy with the answer to who is your week one starter for the Broncos – you’d be happy if it was anyone other than Russell Wilson. And so were all those Broncos fans.

FRANK SCHWAB: Mistakes can be made, but I don’t think paying Lamar is wrong. I think he is elite. I think he’s perfectly fine. I thought paying Kyler was a mistake. We talked about it. I never thought he was worth it. I think the Giants are going down a very, very bad path with Daniel Jones.

Russ turned out to be a mistake. I didn’t call it that. I didn’t think it was. I can’t sit here and tell you paying Lamar Jackson is a mistake. What I’m saying is unless the Falcons just go to you and say, here’s a blank check, however many picks you want for the next five years, we don’t care — unless you have an offer like that, I I’m not moving on from Lamar Jackson.

I say, look, we have the franchise brand. Let’s still work together, figure this out. We know you’re mad. We’re at an impasse, but you’re not going anywhere until we absolutely have to give you up because you’re a 26-year-old former MVP quarterback. And those things don’t come up very often in the NFL.

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