Lamar Jackson has been the source of much debate and speculation this offseason as a result of his contract situation. Another talking point has emerged, however, due to the fact that he is absent from the team’s OTAs.
As detailed by the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec (subscription required), Jackson’s pattern of attendance for voluntary on-field work makes his decision to stay away from the team newsworthy. He also notes, however, the fact that the 25-year-old has already done private work with the team’s receivers this offseason. As a result, the team “maintain[s] they are fine with” the current situation.
When asked about the two-time Pro Bowler’s decision to stay away, head coach John Harbaugh said, “We’ve been down this road many times through the years” via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “It’s not for me to speak for somebody else on that. It’s up to him to speak for himself on that.”
The Ravens have repeatedly tried to work out a long-term deal with Jackson, but his own willingness to do so is widely seen as the primary obstacle to an extension. He is due $23MM this season on the fifth-year option, and would be in line for sizeable raises in the two seasons after that through franchise tags, should the situation reach that point.
Jackson’s absence is further amplified by the fact that he missed the end of the 2021 campaign due to an ankle injury, and that the team has one of the least experienced receiving corps in the league. With little to no expectation that a contract will be forthcoming during the upcoming season, it is possible he remains absent until mandatory minicamp in June.