Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson Involved In Ravens’ Draft Preparation

Preparing for the draft following a free agent period in which several starters departed, the Ravens are in need of multiple rookies capable of providing an impact in 2024. The team’s front office and coaches are obviously central figures in the ongoing scouting process, but they are not alone in that regard.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson has provided head coach John Harbaugh and general manager Eric DeCosta with his input on receiver and tight end prospects in the 2024 class, as detailed by ESPN’s Jamison HensleyThis marks the second straight offseason in which the reigning MVP has done so.

“He is looking at guys now,” Harbaugh said at the league meetings (via Hensley). “He and I agree on a few guys. We haven’t disagreed on anybody yet. We’re sharing our vision together.”

Specifically, Jackson – a native of Pompano Beach, Florida – has given his thoughts on local pass-catching prospects. In the case of last year’s draft, that meant supporting the selection of Zay Flowers in the first round. The latter (who grew up in Fort Lauderdale) enjoyed the most productive rookie season in franchise history with a 77-855-5 statline. South Florida Ravens connections at the position also date back to Marquise Brown, Baltimore’s top pick in 2019.

The Ravens own pick No. 30 in 2024. After losing three starters along the offensive line this offseason, a selection aimed at providing reinforcements up front would come as little surprise. Edge rush and cornerback have also been named as potential positional targets for the team’s top selection. Still, there will be a number of wideouts available late on Day 1, and Jackson’s thoughts on those from his backyard will be taken into account.

Other franchise passers, of course, have varying degrees of input in roster-making decisions around the NFL. In the case of the Ravens, Jackson is being given sway in the overall direction of the team’s offense. As such, it comes as little surprise his perspective on local pass-catching options will receive consideration. In need of at least a depth addition at the receiver spot, it will be interesting to see if Baltimore makes a move influenced in part by Jackson’s recommendations.

QB Rumors: Brady, 49ers, Purdy, Dalton, Eagles, Maye, Jones, Giants, Jackson, Ravens

Kyle Shanahan confirmed Brock Purdy‘s account that provided one final Tom Brady49ers connection. Shanahan alerted Purdy of his effort to lure Brady out of retirement during the younger QB’s rehab from UCL surgery. Brady passed, leading to the 49ers’ Sam Darnold signing.

I actually thought it was giving Brock the biggest compliment,” Shanahan said, via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “I let him know he’s our guy long term. No question. And if Tom Brady wanted to come here and start for one year, that’s the only way you’re not starting when you’re healthy this year. That’s pretty cool. I wanted to assure him, ‘Don’t worry. You’re our guy. But how cool would it be if Tom Brady would be the quarterback here for one season? How cool would it be for you to learn from him?

I mean, if Brock never got hurt, this wouldn’t have been a consideration at all. I’d never have brought it up. But I’ve got to think about the team. What if he’s not ready in September?

Brady’s re-retirement has stuck, with the 46-year-old legend not playing in 2023. The 49ers passed on making a serious pursuit of the Bay Area native in 2020, sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo. Brady was connected to the 49ers in 2022 as well, but when the Buccaneers would not trade his rights during retirement No. 1, he came back to Tampa. The seven-time Super Bowl winner is en route to becoming a Raiders minority owner and FOX’s No. 1 analyst. Purdy, who was back by training camp and showed last season his post-Garoppolo work as a rookie was no fluke, is signed through the 2025 season. The 49ers cannot give him an extension until after this year.

Here is the latest from the quarterback scene:

  • Drake Maye will join Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels in not throwing at the Combine, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson. Widely expected to be a top-five pick, Maye is only scheduled to meet with teams and go through physicals. A light Indianapolis schedule is mostly available only to surefire candidates to go off the board early, but such prospects are taking advantage of the limited participation option.
  • Not nearly on the level of the Brady-49ers what-if transaction, the Eagles made a strong pursuit for Andy Dalton during last year’s free agency,’s Adam Caplan notes. A signing was close here, per Caplan, but Philadelphia pivoted to Marcus Mariota after Dalton chose Carolina’s two-year, $10MM ($8MM guaranteed) offer. The Eagles added Mariota on a one-year, $5MM deal. Barring a Mariota re-signing, Philly will need to add a new backup quarterback soon.
  • Daniel Jones‘ rehab continues to unfold smoothly. Giants GM Joe Schoen expects his starter to be ready for training camp and indicated the sixth-year veteran has begun throwing. Jones is not yet dropping back and throwing, but not yet four months after his ACL tear, the longtime New York starter is progressing toward his goal of a training camp return. Schoen reiterated (via’s Michael Eisen) at the Combine that Jones will be the Giants’ starter if healthy. The Giants are still expected to add a quarterback, though one of this offseason’s central storylines is whether that passer will be a first-round pick or merely a veteran backup for Jones. The Giants can get out of Jones’ contract with a modest dead-money sum in 2025.
  • Lamar Jackson did not sign his Ravens extension until draft day last year, stalling his start in new OC Todd Monken‘s system. That did not exactly slow the dual-threat superstar, who won his second MVP award. But the Ravens are giving Jackson more autonomy into the offense’s design this year, per John Harbaugh. The 17th-year Baltimore HC said conversations with Jackson about new offensive dimensions began soon after the team’s AFC championship game loss.

Raiders, Panthers Made Offseason Lamar Jackson Inquiries

The events of Week 17 significantly boosted Lamar Jackson‘s chances of winning his second career MVP award. The level of play the Ravens signal-caller has showcased in 2023 has led to a new round of questions regarding the apathy shown around the league with respect to acquiring him in the offseason.

The Ravens used the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, a move which opened the door to offer sheets being at the disposal of teams interested in attempting to sign him (or at least make Baltimore’s efforts to do the same more difficult). Very quickly, however, several teams with question marks under center bowed out and Jackson eventually inked a five-year, $260MM deal.

While no teams are known to have submitted an offer sheet, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Raiders and Panthers both made inquiries into adding Jackson. Vegas faced the challenge of replacing Derek Carr in the offseason, while Carolina was one of several teams in position to add a new passer by means of the draft or another avenue. The former left open the possibility of a Jackson pursuit, though nothing materialized to a serious extent. The latter, meanwhile, was among the large contingent which backed out in lieu of focusing on the draft.

As Schefter notes, teams around the league expressed concern about Jackson’s injury history when considering an offer sheet. The 26-year-old missed the end of the 2021 and ’22 seasons due to knee ailments, something which would have needed to be considered when authorizing a monster contract upon arrival (and which would have included an independent medical evaluation with his new team). Adding the price of two first-round picks for Jackson signing an unmatched offer sheet, the fact he remained in Baltimore comes as little surprise.

Still, the Louisville alum’s play this year (and that of the Ravens as a whole) has proven the lack of desire on the part of QB-needy teams to be noteworthy. Vegas added a short-term Carr replacement in the form of Jimmy Garoppolo, though he struggled when on the field before losing his staring gig midway through the campaign. The Raiders are now evaluating fourth-round rookie Aidan O’Connell as a No. 1 option, though they can be expected to be in the market for an addition of some kind in the new league year.

The Panthers have likewise endured an underwhelming season under center. Looking to stop the cycle of stop-gap additions at the QB spot, the team acquired the top pick in the draft by sending the Bears a haul involving two first- and second-round selections as well as wideout D.J. MooreBryce Young‘s debut campaign has not gone according to plan, and his and the team’s offensive struggles led to the firing of head coach Frank Reich among other staffers.

Schefter notes that questions remain around the league with respect to why no serious efforts were made to pursue a Jackson offer sheet. Prevailing theories point to the Ravens simply matching any offers which were submitted, but it remains a talking point through the close of the campaign that Baltimore – the team which secured the AFC’s top seed on Sunday – was able to retain him with relative ease.

AFC North Notes: Burrow, Lamar, Ravens

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow took a big step towards a return to normalcy with a strong performance in today’s win over the Cardinals. Still, he is not back to 100 percent and, according to Dianna Russini of The Athletic, he’s likely still a few weeks away from that.

Cincinnati has been working with the understanding that Burrow’s calf injury is continually improving with time, as long as he doesn’t tweak it, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano. They’re risking reinjury by continuing to put him on the field, but they aren’t hindering his recovery, and they likely feel his presence, even if not fully healthy, is more impactful than the QB2, Jake Browning‘s.

With one more game standing between them and a bye week, the Bengals will be counting on Burrow to avoid reaggravating his calf for one more week in order to get to a two-week rest that should really help him get back to full-strength.

Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC North, starting with another injured Bengal:

  • Cincinnati rookie return man Charlie Jones was placed on injured reserve a little over a week ago after sustaining a thumb injury. Jones underwent surgery a few days ago, per Jay Morrison of Pro Football Network, and expects to make a return as soon as he is eligible after the four-week period. This should put Jones back on the active roster in time for the team’s Week 9 matchup against the Bills.
  • Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has remained healthy through five weeks this season, but it sounds like Baltimore isn’t taking any chances. According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, head coach John Harbaugh reiterated that the team is committed to keeping three quarterbacks on their roster. With the injuries in recent years to Jackson, and subsequently to the backup quarterbacks, having multiple backup options has likely become a necessity.
  • Baltimore long snapper Nick Moore was set to play out a contract year in 2023 before suffering a torn Achilles tendon in offseason training. Since Moore will be spending the entire season on the team’s reserve/non-football injury list, the Ravens decided to sign him to a one-year extension, pushing his free agency until after the 2024 season.

QB Notes: Jets, Jackson, Commanders

Out of football since the 2016 season, Colin Kaepernick continues to pursue a comeback. The exiled quarterback wrote a letter to Jets GM Joe Douglas asking for an opportunity to join the team’s practice squad. The letter, as shared by rapper J. Cole (Instagram link), lays out a number of reasons Kaepernick could assist the Jets while making it clear he would be a Zach Wilson contingency plan. Kaepernick cites his ability to offer the Jets’ defense a look at a mobile QB, referencing the advantage that could provide the unit given the dual-threat starters on the team’s schedule. The letter also includes Jim Harbaugh, John Harbaugh and Mark Davis being listed as references. While it is unusual to see a document like this surface, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk confirms it is authentic.

Davis’ team gave the 35-year-old QB a workout last summer, and the former 49ers starter questioned the Raiders preferring Jarrett Stidham and Nick Mullens — the team’s backups at the time — to him. Even though Kaepernick indicated he still trains five days a week for a potential comeback, the book is almost definitely closed for his return to the NFL. He would have profiled as a more realistic option during the late 2010s, but since the 2019 workout snafu in Atlanta, connections to teams have been sparse. Shortly after Aaron Rodgers‘ injury, Kaepernick’s agent contacted the Jets, and a subsequent report indicated no interest existed on the team’s part. The Jets have since signed Trevor Siemian to their P-squad.

Here is the latest from the QB landscape:

  • Siemian could dress for the Jets as an emergency third QB, provided he is elevated to the active roster ahead of Saturday’s deadline, but Robert Saleh confirmed (via’s Rich Cimini) the journeyman passer will not be active for Week 4. Wilson and Tim Boyle will be the team’s only active QBs for a third straight game. Siemian has made 30 career starts, including one for the Jets (Week 2, 2019), but could not beat out Jake Browning for the Bengals’ backup job during training camp.
  • It took the Ravens nearly 2 1/2 years to extend Lamar Jackson, but when the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts contract surfaced, GM Eric DeCosta made an earnest effort to finish the process. “We had just signed Odell [Beckham Jr.] and the Hurts deal came out. I thought to myself, ‘Why not try again?’” DeCosta said, via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec (subscription required). “We put some stuff together on paper. There were people who probably weren’t optimistic about our chances. How many players request a trade and then do a long-term deal with their team like a month later? It doesn’t happen very often, but I was optimistic, partly because I know Lamar. I had been with him in Florida. I know what he’s made of and I know what’s important to him.” DeCosta said he had not spoken to Jackson much this offseason, one in which the former MVP requested a trade. The Hurts deal continued to paint the Deshaun Watson fully guaranteed accord as an outlier. Long connected to seeking a fully guaranteed contract, Jackson accepted the Ravens’ offer and signed a five-year, $260MM deal — one that helped shape Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow‘s respective negotiations.
  • Eric Bieniemy going from Patrick Mahomes to a Commanders team planning to go with Sam Howell did not represent a deal-breaker for the five-year Chiefs OC. The new NFC East play-caller joined the Commanders in placing a second-round grade on the North Carolina prospect last year, Albert Breer of notes. A one-time first-round-level prospect prior to a statistical regression as a junior, Howell is off to an uneven start. QBR places the 2022 fifth-rounder 25th through three games, though he has shown some promise early in his QB1 run.

Ravens Rumors: Jackson, Ricard, Mullen, Worley

It’s safe to say the Ravens are doing everything in their power to keep star quarterback Lamar Jackson happy. It all started with the massive contract extension to keep him off the market and keep him in Baltimore. Making Jackson the NFL’s highest-paid player in annual average value (at the time) was only Step One.

While they were working on his contract, the team also did their best to revamp his weapons cabinet. They utilized their top draft pick on Boston College wideout Zay Flowers. They also brought in a few veteran free agents like Nelson Agholor and Odell Beckham Jr. to supplement Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, and company.

Soon after securing their quarterback of the future, the Ravens went to work getting him acquainted with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Monken immediately advocated for empowering his quarterback, opting to abandon the huddle-first offense of Jackson’s past in favor of an attack that allows Jackson to audible and make adjustments at the line of scrimmage.

Now Monken has taken that empowerment a step further, allowing Jackson input into the offense’s playbook design, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. Apparently, Jackson was browsing social media when he stumbled across some routes that piqued his interest. He sent them to his position coach, Tee Martin, and Martin forwarded them to Monken. Monken agreed with Jackson’s assessment and added them to the playbook.

Big money. New targets. New play-caller who values Jackson’s input. If Jackson had any doubts that the Ravens were dedicated to setting him up for success, he can probably put those doubts to rest.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of Charm City:

  • After experimenting a bit at his fourth NFL position, Ravens four-time Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard was back to his normal position this week at practice, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. The fullback/tight end hybrid had put in triple-duty in his first two NFL seasons, playing on the defensive line, as well. Lately, after his return from the physically unable to perform list, Baltimore has had Ricard working on the offensive line, potentially setting him up to compete for the open left guard spot. While Project Pat’s latest project wasn’t exactly a failure, he told head coach John Harbaugh that it was perhaps a project “for next year.” For now, Ricard was happy to be back in the role he’s comfortable with, a role he’s seen consistent success in.
  • Ravens cornerback Trayvon Mullen was all over the Ravens transaction reports in July. He was released after failing to disclose a non-football injury before eventually being brought back and assigned to the reserve/NFI list. While Baltimore clearly sees something in the young Clemson alum, it seems they won’t be seeing it this year. According to Hensley, Mullen underwent toe surgery and could potentially miss the entire season in recovery. This adds to the litany of cornerback injuries the Ravens are currently dealing with. Marlon Humphrey is expected to miss the start of the season, while Rock Ya-Sin, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Damarion Williams, and Arthur Maulet have all been dealing with preseason injuries. The team signed Ronald Darby to address the festering wound, but Darby is coming back from a major injury himself after his 2022 season ended early with a torn ACL.
  • As if Baltimore’s cornerbacks situation wasn’t bad enough, backup corner Daryl Worley informed Zrebiec this week that he’s been moved full-time to safety now. Worley claims that he hasn’t taken reps at cornerback at all this summer. Worley follows Brandon Stephens who also recently made the move back to his drafted position this offseason. This may be a testament to how confident the Ravens are in their young group of corners and new veterans to step up this year, but if things get much worse for the Ravens secondary, Worley and Stephens may find themselves bumping back out to cornerback, something Worley says he’s capable of doing if necessary.

Largest 2023 Cap Hits: Offense

The NFL’s salary cap once again ballooned by more than $10MM, rising from its $208.2MM perch to $224.8MM. Factoring in the pandemic-induced 2021 regression, the NFL’s salary risen has climbed by more than $42MM since 2021.

This has allowed teams more opportunities for roster additions and opened the door for more lucrative player deals — at most positions, at least. However, it does not look like this season will include a $40MM player cap number. The Browns avoided a record-shattering Deshaun Watson $54.9MM hit by restructuring the quarterback’s fully guaranteed contract, calling for monster figures from 2024-26.

Here are the largest cap hits for teams on the offensive side going into training camp:

  1. Patrick Mahomes, QB (Chiefs): $39.69MM
  2. Ryan Tannehill, QB (Titans): $36.6MM
  3. Jared Goff, QB (Lions): $30.98MM
  4. Jake Matthews, T (Falcons): $28.36MM
  5. Trent Williams, T (49ers): $27.18MM
  6. Dak Prescott, QB (Cowboys): $26.83MM
  7. Laremy Tunsil, T (Texans): $26.61MM
  8. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB (49ers): $23.8MM
  9. Amari Cooper, WR (Browns): $23.78MM
  10. Mike Evans, WR (Buccaneers): $23.69MM
  11. Ronnie Stanley, T (Ravens): $23.67MM
  12. Joe Thuney, G (Chiefs): $22.12MM
  13. Russell Wilson, QB (Broncos): $22MM
  14. Lamar Jackson, QB (Ravens): $22MM
  15. Daniel Jones, QB (Giants): $21.75MM
  16. David Bakhtiari, T (Packers): $21.29MM
  17. Kirk Cousins, QB (Vikings): $20.25MM
  18. D.J. Moore, WR (Bears): $20.17MM
  19. Matthew Stafford, QB (Rams): $20MM
  20. Brian O’Neill, T (Vikings): $19.66MM
  21. Taylor Decker, T (Lions): $19.35MM
  22. Deshaun Watson, QB (Browns): $19.1MM
  23. Braden Smith, T (Colts): $19MM
  24. Josh Allen, QB (Bills): $18.64MM
  25. Courtland Sutton, WR (Broncos): $18.27MM

As should be expected, quarterbacks dominate this list. Mahomes’ number checks in here despite the Chiefs restructuring his 10-year, $450MM contract in March; the two-time MVP’s cap hit would have set an NFL record had Kansas City not reduced it. The Chiefs did not restructure Mahomes’ deal last year, but if they do not address it — perhaps via a complex reworking — before next season, Mahomes’ $46.93MM number would break an NFL record.

The Titans have not touched Tannehill’s contract this offseason, one that included some trade rumors months ago. This is the final year of Tannehill’s Tennessee extension. Mahomes and Tannehill sat atop this ranking in 2022.

Cousins is also heading into a contract year, after the Vikings opted for a restructure and not an extension this offseason. Cousins does not expect to discuss another Minnesota deal until 2024, when he is due for free agency. Two relatively low cap numbers have started Wilson’s $49MM-per-year extension. The Denver QB’s cap number rises to $35.4MM in 2024 and reaches historic heights ($55.4MM) by ’25. The subject of a Goff extension has come up, and it would bring down the Lions passer’s figure. But Goff remains tied to his Rams-constructed $33.5MM-per-year deal through 2024.

Jackson and Jones’ numbers will rise in the near future, with the latter’s contract calling for a quick spike in 2024. Next year, the Giants QB’s cap hit will be $45MM. Watson’s 2024 hit, as of now, would top that. The Browns signal-caller is on the team’s ’24 payroll at $63.98MM. Long-term consequences aside, the Browns can be expected to once again go to the restructure well with Watson’s outlier contract.

The Raiders did not backload Garoppolo’s three-year contract; it only climbs to $24.25MM on Las Vegas’ 2024 cap sheet. The Bills did backload Allen’s pact. Its team-friendly years are done after 2023; the six-year accord spikes to $47.1MM on Buffalo’s cap next year. The Cowboys have gone to the restructure well with Prescott. Like Watson, the Cowboys quarterback is tied to a seemingly untenable 2024 cap number. The March restructure resulted in Prescott’s 2024 number rising to $59.46MM. Two seasons remain on that $40MM-AAV extension.

Another notable cap hold that should be mentioned is Tom Brady‘s. When the Buccaneers did not sign the again-retired QB to another contract before the 2023 league year, his $35.1MM dead-money figure went onto Tampa Bay’s 2023 cap sheet. The Bucs will absorb that entire amount this year. Brady’s 2022 restructure, after retirement No. 1, led to the $35.1MM figure forming.

Were it not for another O-line-record extension, the Tunsil number would have come in at $35MM this year. Matthews signed an extension last year. Moore would have come in higher on this list were he still on the Panthers, who took on $14.6MM in dead money to move their top wideout for the No. 1 overall pick. Sutton came up regularly in trade rumors, with the Broncos wanting a second-round pick for the sixth-year veteran. The former second-rounder’s high base salary ($14MM) hinders his trade value.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Monken, Ravens

With Jim Schwartz returning to Cleveland after 28 years, then as a scout, now as defensive coordinator, there are some expected changes to how the Browns‘ defense will get things done. Thanks to Mary Kay Cabot of, we have a bit of insight into just how things might change in the secondary under Schwartz.

At safety, the team exchanged starter John Johnson III with Juan Thornhill while also bringing in veteran Rodney McLeod, as well. Schwartz brings two interesting factors to the safety position: he likes to play three at one time often and he expects versatility. He doesn’t strictly prescribe to free and strong safety assignments but more often tends to focus on sides of the field. Grant Delpit, Thornhill, and McLeod will be interchangeable and will be asked to line up in many areas.

Versatility will be expected of the cornerbacks, as well, as Schwartz has reportedly been crosstraining all of Cleveland’s defensive backs in the slot. This is welcome news for Greg Newsome II, who reportedly wanted to play more to his strengths on the outside this year. He won’t solely work outside, but with Denzel Ward and Martin Emerson also getting work as nickelbacks this summer, Newsome won’t be asked to shoulder the load in the slot alone.

Here are a few more rumors from around the AFC North:

  • Schwartz is excited to be bringing together two strong pass rushers in Myles Garrett and Za’Darius Smith on the Browns’ defensive line, according to Cabot. After a year in which Jadeveon Clowney failed to mesh with Garrett, Schwartz is excited about the flexibility that Smith brings to the table. For one, he’s already had the experience of working across from talented pass rushers like Danielle Hunter, Preston Smith, Matt Judon, Terrell Suggs, and Elvis Dumervil. Secondly, Smith provides a versatile attack that allows him to rush from either side, as well as from the interior, when needed.
  • After four years under a huddle-first Greg Roman offense, the Ravens will allow quarterback Lamar Jackson a bit more agency in the offense under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. According to a report from ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, Jackson will be given more freedom to audible and make adjustments at the line this season. This is not completely foreign to the recently extended quarterback. Baltimore experimented with this type of offense in a Week 2 game last year against the Dolphins as a counter to Miami’s pressure package. In that game, Jackson threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns while adding 119 yards and a touchdown on the ground, as well. The Ravens will hope to see more of that in 2023, as Jackson is presented with more opportunities to truly lead the offense.
  • We mentioned about two weeks ago that Ravens second-year tackle Daniel Faalele was a candidate to replace former starting left guard Ben Powers, who departed for Denver in free agency in March. Knowing Faalele’s importance in his current role as one of the team’s primary backup tackles, we boiled it down to a battle between Ben Cleveland and John Simpson. A recent report from Hensley, though, claims that head coach John Harbaugh spoke highly of Faalele at the position and refused to rule him out as a potential starter. He praised Simpson’s performance in the position, as well, but it may be time to start considering Faalele as one of the top candidates to start next year.

AFC North Notes: Ravens, Steelers, Ossai

Lamar Jackson‘s foray as his own agent involved years of proposals and counterproposals, and while the former MVP received criticism for playing out his rookie contract, the Ravens rewarded their centerpiece player with a record-setting deal. That $52MM-per-year contract includes $135MM fully guaranteed. While that is not in the Deshaun Watson stratosphere — a range Jackson sought to enter — it places the sixth-year veteran second for full guarantees. One of Jackson’s proposals along the way included a three-year, $156MM fully guaranteed deal, Albert Breer of notes. The Ravens did not relent on term length, but Jackson’s proposal probably factored into the final result. By March 2024, Jackson will see his guarantee total balloon to $156MM.

The Ravens made a seismic bet Jackson (11 missed games since 2021) will stay healthy, as this contract locks them in through 2025 at least. Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • While the Steelers drafted Joey Porter Jr. 32nd overall, he was in consideration for their first-round selection. Had the Steelers not traded up to draft tackle Broderick Jones at No. 14, The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly notes they likely would have chosen Porter at 17 (subscription required). Teams often paint rosy pictures of their draft plans in the aftermath, but Porter — who visited the Steelers’ facility, a place he is quite familiar with due to his father’s history with the team — was viewed as a first-round talent who slipped a bit. The Steelers did make it known the 32nd pick was available, and as Will Levis also fell out of Round 1, they received multiple offers. But they now have Jones and Porter in the fold.
  • Joseph Ossai‘s final-seconds hit on Patrick Mahomes may well have denied the Bengals a second straight Super Bowl berth, giving the Chiefs a better chance of avoiding overtime. Following Harrison Butker‘s game-winning field goal, Ossai headed toward a rehab-filled offseason. The edge rusher suffered a torn left shoulder labrum during a December game against the Browns and played hurt the rest of the way. Ossai, who had rebounded from a full-season rookie absence (due to a meniscus injury) to play 19 games last season, is expected to be ready for training camp, Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets.
  • When the Steelers brought Bud Dupree in for a visit, they wanted to re-sign their former first-round pick back to a two-year deal, Kaboly adds. A previous report indicated the Steelers did not discuss terms with Dupree, but it does appear the club had a preferred contract range — one that would have helped keep the edge rusher’s 2023 cap number low. Dupree signed a one-year, $3MM Falcons deal that could spike to $5MM.
  • On the subject of contracts that did come to pass, Rock Ya-Sin‘s one-year Ravens deal will be worth $4MM. That amount is fully guaranteed, according to OverTheCap. This will give the former Colts and Raiders cornerback a chance to re-establish his value for a possible 2024 free agency bid.
  • Shifting back to Pittsburgh, the Steelers will see some front office turnover. Mark Gorscak, who has been with the team for 28 years, will retire from his scouting post this offseason, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes. Also known for his role as the Combine’s 40-yard dash starter, Gorscak follows another Steelers staffer in place since the 1990s — assistant coach John Mitchell — as mainstays departing the team this offseason.
  • The Steelers are hiring former Raiders southeast area scout Zack Crockett to work in the same capacity, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets. Crockett, who enjoyed a 13-year career (mostly with the Raiders) as a fullback, spent the past 14 years as a Raiders scout. Las Vegas’ Dave Ziegler– and Josh McDaniels-led regime parted ways with Crockett, 50, earlier this offseason.

QB Notes: Ravens, Levis, Colts, Richardson, Rams, Bennett, Hurts, 49ers

The Ravens hosted Anthony Richardson on a pre-draft visit, and GM Eric DeCosta did not shoot down the idea of taking a first-round quarterback. Of course, the Ravens squashed any such contingency plan by agreeing to terms with Lamar Jackson on his record-setting extension. Had that not happened, the team is believed to have been intrigued by Will Levis. The Ravens would have considered Levis with their first-round pick had Jackson not signed, Jeremy Fowler of notes. Baltimore had pursued Baker Mayfield as well and entered draft week with neither of its top QBs signed beyond 2023. Tyler Huntley is on an RFA tender.

Selecting a quarterback at No. 22 would have both been a leverage play and certainly would have cost the team its best opportunity to add weaponry around Jackson, thus weakening the 2023 Ravens edition. A number of teams were connected to Levis coming into the draft, and trade rumors — centered around teams eyeing a move up for the falling Kentucky prospect — emerged in the late first round and early second. The Ravens now loom as a Levis “what if?” Though, they will probably not be the first team mentioned as a near-miss regarding the strong-armed prospect. Considering Jackson’s contract, Levis may barely be a footnote for the team.

Here is the latest news from the quarterback position:

  • Seeing as the Colts and Titans are in the same division, Indianapolis will probably be the top Levis “what if?” team. The Colts were tied to Levis for weeks ahead of the draft, but they successfully masked their Richardson interest. Even though Richardson’s ceiling enamored Colts brass, Fowler adds Levis had a few fans in Indy’s building. The Penn State transfer might be readier to play compared to Richardson, a one-year Florida starter, though Ryan Tannehill‘s presence in Tennessee may ensure Richardson begins his QB1 run first. Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds was a Richardson skeptic at first, but fellow seventh-year Indy front office staffer Morocco Brown — who primarily scouted the Gators talent for the Colts — made near-weekly trips to Gainesville to chart the athletic prospect’s progress. Ex-Shane Steichen Eagles coworker Brian Johnson, Florida’s OC during Richardson’s freshman year (2020), also vouched for Richardson, per Fowler.
  • The Rams did not consider Levis, per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, who notes they came into the draft with a goal of landing a Day 3 passer (subscription required). Despite Levis having played for 2022 Rams OC Liam Coen in 2021, team brass was split on the prospect. Los Angeles ended up with Stetson Bennett via the No. 128 overall pick. This came after the Rams hired one of their former QBs, Kellen Clemens, as a consultant to evaluate Bennett and other arms, Rodrigue adds. Clemens met with Bennett in Georgia before the draft, but even though Bennett is a 26-year-old rookie, ex-Broncos backup Brett Rypien may begin as Matthew Stafford‘s backup.
  • The EaglesJalen Hurts extension (five years, $255MM) laid the groundwork for Jackson’s, and the Ravens QB scored more fully guaranteed money ($135MM to $110MM). But Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio notes the Hurts deal jumps to $157.3MM fully guaranteed by 2025. This is because Hurts’ 2026 option bonus ($49.8MM) becomes guaranteed in stages. Hurts will see $16.5MM of that bonus become guaranteed in 2024, and $30MM of that payout locks in by 2025. These guarantees vest in March 2024 and ’25,’s Albert Breer tweets. The Eagles ditched Carson Wentz‘s contract less than two years after authorizing it, but they moved back into the QB-paying business with this megadeal.
  • Former Detroit and Washington practice squad QB Steven Montez spent the weekend in San Francisco auditioning at the 49ers‘ rookie minicamp, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. The Colorado alum served as the Seattle Sea Dragons’ backup, behind Ben DiNucci, who has since signed with the Broncos. The 49ers have four QBs rostered and have not signed Montez.