NFL Player News | Lamar Jackson will play for the Baltimore Ravens in 2023

by Jack Cavanagh · Best Ball Plays & Strategy

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NFL Player News | Lamar Jackson is Staying in Baltimore

Good Evening. Our top story this week: Odell Beckham is a Baltimore Raven. Beckham Jr. shocked the world when he spurned Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets. He opted instead to take his talents to Maryland on a 1-year contract worth up to $18 million. Of course, this move has created more questions than answers. Who will be throwing him the football? What does this mean for Lamar Jackson? Is it just about the money for Odell?

Jackson will be throwing the football to Beckham. Beckham is a smart businessman. He also wants one final long-term contract in the NFL. And a smart businessman looking for a long-term contract would never tie himself to quarterback Tyler Huntley over Rodgers. This becomes even more obvious when Jackson posts a screenshot of a FaceTime with Odell within hours of the contract being announced.

See the Instagram post here:

The next day it became clear that not only is Jackson excited that Odell is joining the team, he played a massive role in the recruitment process. Ask yourself this: do you believe that a man who’s built his brand on the phrase “Big Truss” would ask his friend to come work with him, only to immediately jump ship? The answer, of course, is no. If Jackson spent weeks asking Beckham to join him in Baltimore, then Jackson is going to be a Baltimore Raven.

How will it Happen?

How Lamar Jackson stays with the Ravens is a bigger question. Lamar admitted publicly that he requested a trade at the beginning of March. However, things have changed since then. To this point, no team has been willing to negotiate with the former unanimous MVP. This is something that appears unlikely to change barring a new Commanders ownership group falling in love with Jackson. It appears obvious that Jackson has accepted that he will be a member of the Baltimore Ravens for 2023 at the very least.

There are three scenarios in which Jackson is QB1 for Baltimore in 2023. No. 1: Lamar plays out his season on the Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag and makes $32.4M for his labor. This is very possible. Though, it does leave the Ravens vulnerable to a late offer from Washington. No. 2: Baltimore signs Jackson to a long-term deal. This feels unlikely based on how negotiations have gone thus far. However, never say never when it comes to the NFL. No. 3: The Baltimore Ravens sign Jackson to a 1-year, fully guaranteed contract that includes incentives to show up for the entire offseason program. This is, what I consider, to be the most likely option.

NFL News | The Offseason Program Deadline

The most recent version of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement levies fines that make it near-impossible for a player who is under contract to skip the offseason program. The lone exception is for players that have been given the Franchise Tag but have not yet signed the dotted line. Lamar Jackson has not yet signed his tag. This means that not only is he allowed to skip, but also he is not allowed to participate.

Baltimore fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman following the 2022 season and replaced him with former Georgia Bulldogs OC Todd Monken. The change in scheme makes it even more imperative that Jackson is present throughout the entire install phase of the offense. A 1-year deal that pays Jackson north of the $40M/year that Daniel Jones was given this offseason, with heavy bonuses attached to attendance, is the best way to satisfy all parties.

The Guaranteed Money

15 million guaranteed dollars is a lot of money, but it’s not worth sacrificing a future payday. Tyler Huntley had two passing touchdowns and three interceptions across six games last year. Playing with Huntley guarantees that Beckham is forced to take another, cheaper, 1-year deal in 2023 because his numbers will be torpedoed.

Here is the real NFL player news takeaway. Odell Beckham does not sign this contract if he does not believe Lamar Jackson will be his quarterback. Jackson does not recruit Beckham to Baltimore if he plans on leaving. Jackson will be throwing touchdowns to Beckham in 2023.