The Ravens and Lamar Jackson seem to have arrived at an uneasy truce after the OBJ acquisition. There’s only one more thing the franchise needs to do in order to keep Jackson in Baltimore….
One month into the offseason, Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson already knows he’s lost the contract war.
Weeks after making his trade request public and trying to force his way out of a franchise that won’t pay him Deshaun Watson money, Jackson has one finger on the pulse of the quarterback market, and that pulse is slowly fading.
The Falcons are out on him. So are the Raiders, Commanders, Lions, and likely the Colts.
Jackson isn’t receiving the level of interest he expected this offseason, so he’s switching it up. A change of tactics, if you will. And this is the new message he’s sending Baltimore: If I’m staying, I’m winning.
A new report from Michael Lombardi reveals that Jackson gave the Ravens a set of demands that represent the prerequisites to continued contract negotiations. The demands are simple, really. Get Odell Beckham Jr., and get Arizona Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins.
It would explain why Baltimore grossly overpaid for a wide receiver (an uncharacteristic move given the franchise’s frugal history with WRs), and it could signal the franchise’s intention to go after D-Hop later this offseason.
Ravens would rather sign expensive WRs than pay Lamar Jackson
According to Lombardi, the Ravens allegedly told Jackson that they couldn’t afford both Beckham and Hopkins, and it’s not like Jackson suddenly has regained leverage in this situation.
Unless another team approaches the Ravens about a Lamar Jackson trade or hands the quarterback an offer sheet, Jackson will play for Baltimore on the non-exclusive franchise tag next season. The franchise’s risky gamble paid off, and now all there’s left to do is turn a disgruntled Jackson into a happy Jackson.
They might have to take a page out of the Jets’ offseason playbook on “How to suck up to a picky quarterback.”
Getting OBJ was easy; getting D-Hop will be much more difficult and less desirable overall. The money part of a potential trade with Arizona may be doable, though Baltimore have to keep in mind that Jackson hasn’t yet been extended. Taking on Hopkins’ nasty salary dump is far from ideal right now.
What will absolutely grind Baltimore’s teeth is the fact that the Cards are asking for a second-round pick and “something else of value” in return for the veteran wideout. The Ravens only have five picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, their fewest number since 1999. The franchise didn’t receive any compensatory picks and also traded away a second-rounder for Roquan Smith last year, so they don’t even have a 2023 second-round pick to deal.
The most realistic route to getting Hopkins might be swapping first-rounders with the Cardinals: Baltimore gives up their No. 22 overall pick in exchange for Arizona’s No. 34 overall and Hopkins, plus maybe a late-round picks swap.
If we had to guess, we’d say Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta loves his picks more than he loves injury-prone aging wide receivers, so a potential Hopkins trade is still a long shot. Baltimore can only hope the word “compromise” is in Jackson’s vocabulary.