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It’s hard to believe that Lamar Jackson has already been with the Ravens for four years. It seems like he was a rookie phenom just yesterday, turning the league upside down, and electrifying fans with his dynamic play and dazzling speed.
He quickly became one of the most exciting players in the league, and it seemed like he was destined to become a Raven for life. But maybe that was just a dream? A figment of our imagination? Because, in reality, Lamar Jackson might not be with Baltimore much longer.
So what happened? How did we go from “Lamar Jackson is the future of the Ravens” to “Lamar Jackson might be traded”? It’s hard to say for sure, but one thing is certain: the NFL is a business, and sometimes even the most talented players can be expendable.
The Beginning of Greatness
There’s no question about whether or not Lamar Jackson is an incredible football player. As a young man, he became one of the greats at Boynton Beach High School in Florida and was rated a four-star recruit by Rivals.
Lamar Johnson was one of his generation’s most dominant college football players. He played college football at Louisville after weighing the options he was handed from PowerFive schools and mid-major programs. His collegiate accomplishments include winning the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and being a unanimous All-American sophomore in 2016.
In a move that surprised many, the Ravens traded into the final pick of the first round to select Lamar Jackson. The team sent second- and fourth-round picks to Philadelphia for the No. 32 selection and a later fourth-rounder. Jackson was considered the best quarterback in the draft, and the Ravens felt he was worth the hefty price of $9.47 million (with a $4.97 million signing bonus). Johnson quickly silenced any critics, emerging as one of the best young receivers in the league.
Coming in Hot
A team’s quarterback is arguably the most important player on the field. So when the Baltimore Ravens’ starting QB Joe Flacco was sidelined with an injury, there was a lot of pressure on rookie Lamar Jackson to step up and fill his shoes.
Fortunately, Jackson was up to the task. In his first NFL start against the Cincinnati Bengals, he threw for 150 yards and led the Ravens to a 24-21 victory. It was an impressive performance under pressure, and it made one thing clear: Lamar Jackson is a quarterback to watch out for in the future of the NFL.
Jackson Is Just Getting Started
Lamar Jackson continued to make history in the coming seasons. Not only can he throw a mean pass, but he also runs like a freaking gazelle. The Baltimore Ravens quarterback became the first player in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in multiple seasons. Jackson achieved the feat in 2019 and 2020, cementing his place as one of the most dynamic athletes in the league.
In 2019 alone, he made the most rushing attempts and ran the most rushing yards ever run by an NFL QB in a single season.
While some may argue that Jackson’s accomplishments result from the NFL’s focus on quarterbacks who can run, there’s no denying that he is a once-in-a-generation talent. With his unique combination of speed, strength, and agility, Jackson is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball.
Are the Ravens Losing Jackson?
Lamar Jackson has been with the Baltimore Ravens for four years, but it’s starting to feel like he might not be with the team for much longer. Sure, Jackson is a talented player, and the Ravens may not want to lose him, but they’re willing to let him go if they don’t get the right offer. So what’s going on? Are the Ravens ready to move on from Lamar Jackson?
Are the Ravens Screwing Up?
If you ask Lamar Jackson, the time for negotiating a new contract with the Baltimore Ravens is ticking away. He is currently playing on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal, which will pay him $23 million in 2022. However, he hopes to sign a new deal that will keep him in Baltimore for the long term. According to Jackson, negotiations will end once the regular season starts.
“We’re coming up to it. It’s coming up. It’s coming up,” Jackson said at the conclusion of Ravens practice Saturday. “The season is coming up. We’re going to be good for the season.”– Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports
The Ravens have made it clear that they are open to negotiations, but it remains to be seen whether they will be able to reach an agreement before the start of the season. The superstar quarterback is set to play on his fifth-year option next season, but he’s hoping to get a new deal done before. This leaves the Ravens with a bit of a dilemma. Do they give their franchise quarterback the hefty raise he’s looking for, or do they let him play out his option and potentially lose him in free agency?
Either way, it’s clear that Jackson is ready to take his game to the next level and will take his fans with him wherever he chooses to land.
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