The Baltimore Ravens began their OTA schedule on Wednesday, but star quarterback Lamar Jackson was nowhere to be found.
After a bizarre offseason where Lamar Jackson didn’t engage in extension talks, he’s now MIA at OTAs.
On Wednesday, Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens hit the field for the first time as a team, but the quarterback wasn’t in attendance. Although OTAs are voluntary per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, it’s unusual to see stars skip them, whether it be for bonuses in their contract or to avoid making waves.
However, Jackson is entering the final. year of his rookie deal and could either be annoyed he’s without an extension, or doesn’t want to risk injury. The latter is perfectly understandable. The former is odd, considering much time has been used to document how badly Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta wants to talk about a lucrative deal, only to have Jackson leave him without a return call.
While things are still early in the year, Baltimore has to be concerned. In a burgeoning era of players dictating terms more than ever, is Jackson not satisfied with the organization? On Twitter, he’s publicly pushed back on the idea, but one still wonders considering his actions over the past months, especially after he wasn’t thrilled about the team trading away receiver Hollywood Brown during the NFL Draft.
For now, the team doesn’t sound concerned. After practicing on Wednesday, All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews gave his thoughts on the situation, per ESPN:
“He’s extremely motivated and extremely hungry. So there’s no worries over there. I know what he’s doing and we’re all working and doing our job here and getting ready for him. We’ll be ready to go and I’m confident that he’s going to be ready and show everybody what he’s got and the type of hunger he has right now.”
Still, all of the uncertainty does lead to questions and therefore, rampant speculation. If Baltimore doesn’t make a deep playoff push this season, does Jackson start shouldering even more of the blame than he already has? In his four years with Baltimore, the Ravens have made the postseason three times, but only advanced once. In 2019, Jackson was the unanimous MVP and Baltimore won a league-high 14 games, only to be throttled in the AFC Divisional round by the Tennessee Titans.
For now, it’s wait and see with Jackson, who remains a mystery in every sense.