Ravens Rumors

Ravens To Explore Extension For Lamar Jackson

The Ravens were eliminated from the playoffs last night in a game that raised more questions than it answered about quarterback Lamar Jackson‘s ability to win in the playoffs. Although it appeared that Jackson had put that narrative to bed with his team’s victory over the Titans in last week’s wildcard round, the naysayers are back in full force following Baltimore’s loss to the Bills, which included a Jackson pick-six that turned what could have been a tied score or a 10-6 deficit into a 17-3 game.

Never mind that the game also featured a plethora of bad snaps from center Patrick Mekari, poor pass-blocking from the Ravens’ O-line, two missed field goals by the normally automatic Justin Tucker, and a dropped pass that set up the Bills’ first score. Never mind that offensive coordinator Greg Roman, whose passing game concepts and questionable play-calling undermine his strengths in the run game, seems to get outcoached against good teams. Never mind that Jackson’s best skill-position players are also playing on their rookie deals, and that Peyton Manning didn’t win his first playoff game until his sixth professional season.

Yes, Jackson still needs to improve as a passer. The pick-six was on him and was a devastating blow. But he won the league MVP last year, his age-22 season. He is a dynamic playmaker who has shown plenty of flashes of top-tier ability throwing the ball, even if he never becomes Manning in that regard. He posted nearly a 3:1 TD-to-INT ratio this year en route to a 99.3 quarterback rating, and he became the first QB in league history to rush for 1,000 yards in multiple seasons. He is also a high-character leader who has the full respect of his teammates, and there is reason to believe he will continue polishing his right arm.

The Ravens appear to agree, as they are expected to explore an extension for their young signal-caller this offseason, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link). That would seem to fall under the “no duh” category of NFL reports, but it’s worth noting nonetheless. Baltimore GM Eric DeCosta has made it a point to be proactive with extensions for key players, and locking up Jackson in a year when the salary cap will decrease or remain the same could be to the Ravens’ advantage.

As Rapoport notes, Jackson represented himself when negotiating his rookie deal, and it remains to be seen if he will hire an agent before discussions about his second contract commence. One way or another, it would seem that Deshaun Watson‘s re-up with the Texans is the best comp. Watson’s extension was a four-year add-on worth $156MM (a $39MM AAV) and featured $73MM guaranteed at signing. Look for Jackson’s new deal to include similar figures.

Assuming player and team do not have an extension in place by the deadline to exercise fifth-year options in May, that will obviously be a no-brainer decision for the Ravens. Jackson’s fifth-year option, which would go into effect for the 2022 season, would be fully guaranteed — since he is a member of the 2018 draft class — and would be worth about $25MM (as Albert Breer of SI.com notes on Twitter). But that will almost certainly be more of a placeholder than anything else, as a new deal should be consummated prior to the 2022 campaign.

The Ravens will have plenty of other contractual issues to hash out in the coming months. Pass rushers Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue are eligible for unrestricted free agency, and TE Mark Andrews and OT Orlando Brown may be seeking extensions of their own.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/15/21

Here are the latest NFL minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Green Bay Packers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/15/21

Here are the latest reserve/futures contracts given out:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

  • QB Kyle Sloter

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

2021 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Exiting the regular season, six teams are searching for new head coaches. That number is up from last season but not quite as high as 2019, though there may well be more vacancies that emerge during the playoffs.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-17-21 (10:58am CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 1/13/21

Here are the latest practice squad moves from around the league:

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

2021 NFL General Manager Search Tracker

This year’s NFL GM carousel figures to be more active than usual. The Falcons, Lions, Panthers, Texans, and Jaguars are all on the hunt for a new front office leader. And that’s only the official list. The real tally shows six clubs looking for a GM, since the Washington Football Team is expected to install a GM to work alongside head coach Ron Rivera. By mid-January, we could easily see a couple more jobs opening up — that’d put ~25% of the NFL on the market.

We’ll keep track of the GM candidates for each club here, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make general manager changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here’s the current breakdown:

Updated 1-15-21 (4:59pm CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers 

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/9/21

Here are the latest NFL minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Signed to reserve/futures deal: QB/WR Joe Webb

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 1/6/21

This is breaking news. Please refresh for updates.

Today’s practice squad moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Kansas City Chiefs

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titanshttps://www.raiders.com/news/las-vegas-raiders-sign-11-players-to-reserve-future-contracts-1-5-21

Washington Football Team

Ozzie Newsome Atop Texans’ GM Wish List

The Texans have interviewed or requested interviews with several NFL staffers and ESPN analyst Louis Riddick thus far. This search could approach 20 candidates. However, one may hover above the rest.

Houston is interested in former Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reporting the ex-Ravens Super Bowl-winning exec is “at the top of the Texans’ wish list.” Because Newsome stepped down as Ravens GM after the 2018 season, giving Eric DeCosta personnel control, he would be free to interview with the Texans. Newsome currently serves as Ravens executive vice president.

However, Newsome has spent his entire executive career with the Ravens (and Browns 1.0 before that). He remains heavily involved in Ravens operations, though DeCosta oversees the franchise’s roster. Some close to the 64-year-old exec do not expect him to leave the Ravens for another NFL team, with La Canfora adding a role at his alma mater (Alabama) would be of interest before an NFL gig. But the Texans are genuinely interested in prying him from the Ravens, JLC adds.

This would be quite the upgrade from Bill O’Brien yet quite the fixer-upper project for someone as accomplished as Newsome, given the shape O’Brien left Houston’s roster in. The Hall of Fame tight end spent 23 seasons as Ravens GM, winning two Super Bowls and drafting Hall of Famers Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/4/21

It’s been a busy day of firings, interviews, retirements, and even arrests, but that doesn’t mean we won’t make time for some minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

  • Signed off Bengals’ practice squad: CB Brian Allen

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles