The Baltimore Ravens Face a Tough Decision with Lamar Jackson’s Contract and the Upcoming Draft

The Baltimore Ravens are facing a precarious situation with their starting quarterback, Lamar Jackson. After using the nonexclusive franchise tag on him last month, the team is now in a position where they may have to decide between absorbing a contract they may not like or allowing Jackson to leave without a suitable replacement on the roster. The team's veteran free-agent quarterback options have dwindled, and with the draft approaching, Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta has hinted that they could potentially select a quarterback with their first-round pick, currently at No. 22 overall.[0]

DeCosta has stated that it depends on the board, but the team has quarterbacks in their top 31, so he would have to say yes.[1] Although the options for quarterbacks may be limited at this point, DeCosta believes that there are more than four guys in this draft class who can be significant quarterbacks in the league.[2] In the forthcoming draft, the Ravens will have only five selections, which is their lowest number since 1999, when they had just four.[3] Their main goal this draft is to add more picks, and they are currently looking to build a board that's the best player available.

However, the focus around the Ravens will continue to be on Jackson until a resolution is made. The team has until July 17 to reach a contract extension with Jackson; otherwise, he could only play on a one-year tender, with the next notable deadline coming at the midseason trade deadline.[4] In order to prevent his contract from tolling for the next season, Jackson is required to report to the Ravens before Week 10.[5] If he doesn't attract an offer sheet or a suitable trade offer, the Ravens will be left to wonder whether Jackson will play the season on the tag or he'll opt to sit out.

The Ravens are currently in a position where they may have to decide between Jackson and potential future prospects. If they can find a way to move up and grab a promising quarterback like Anthony Richardson, they will have no need for Jackson.[6] Richardson is projected to be a top-10 pick after putting up the best athletic testing numbers of any quarterback in the history of the NFL scouting combine.[7] He's a great runner who is stronger than Jackson and can likely throw at least as well as him.[6] Additionally, he will be cheap by comparison, which would allow the Ravens to have more money to spend to fill out the rest of their roster.[7]

At their pre-draft news conference, the Ravens declined to answer any questions about Lamar Jackson, but DeCosta did have something interesting to say about Baltimore's quarterback position.[0] He mentioned that the team is not biased and doesn't take any kind of need-based situation out of the draft equation. They try to build a board that's the best player available. Although they have only five picks, they see a great opportunity for them to add some quality players and be a better football team.[8]

Regardless of what they do during the draft, the Ravens will continue to face uncertainty until they can resolve the situation with Jackson. He has three choices: agree to a contract that doesn't meet his desires, play under the one-year tag, or sit out the entire part of or all of the 2023 season.[9] As the draft approaches, the Ravens will have to consider all their options carefully to make the best decision for the team's future.

0. “Ravens GM doesn't rule out drafting QB in first round amid Lamar Jackson uncertainty” FOX Sports, 5 Apr. 2023,

1. “Notes and quotes from Ravens Pre-Draft presser; MVP QB Lamar Jackson questions off limits” Fox Baltimore, 5 Apr. 2023,

2. “Ravens GM Eric DeCosta hints at drafting QB in first round as Lamar Jackson saga lingers” New York Post , 5 Apr. 2023,

3. “Ravens defer questions on Lamar Jackson, focus on NFL Draft” CBS Baltimore, 5 Apr. 2023,

4. “Timing on Lamar Jackson offer sheet would be challenging for Ravens” The Athletic, 3 Apr. 2023,

5. “What should Lamar Jackson do now? Here's one suggestion.” The Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2023,

6. “Eric DeCosta: Selecting a QB in first round is under consideration” NBC Sports, 5 Apr. 2023,

7. “Ravens draft preview: If quarterback is in play, there are plenty of intriguing options” Baltimore Sun, 3 Apr. 2023,

8. “Ravens focused on the draft as Lamar Jackson’s contract stalemate continues” The Athletic, 5 Apr. 2023,

9. “Lamar Jackson contract update: Ravens GM says team will consider drafting a QB in the first round” CBS Sports, 5 Apr. 2023,

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