REVEALED: Lamar Jackson didn’t travel to Cincinnati to be with his teammates for Ravens’ huge playoff game against Bengals… leaving his Baltimore future even more unclear as he approaches free agency
Lamar Jackson has poured fuel on speculation surrounding his Baltimore Ravens future after it was reported he opted against travelling to Cincinnati with the team for Sunday’s playoff defeat against the Bengals.
Star quarterback Jackson is injured and was therefore unable to play in the Wild Card match-up, but it came as a surprise that he didn’t travel with the team, as reported by NBC’s Melissa Stark before kickoff.
Jackson, 26, is currently at a contract impasse with the Ravens after negotiations were called off at the start of the season so the team could concentrate on the season.
Lamar Jackson’s future with the Baltimore Ravens remains unclear after he stayed at home
Jackson is injured but it came as a surprise that he didn’t opt to travel to Cincinnati for playoffs
Now that their campaign is over following the defeat in Cincinnati, attention will likely turn to the quarterback’s future and whether he stays in Baltimore or continues his impressive career away from the team that drafted him in the first round in 2018.
His decision not to travel with the team will certainly increase speculation about him moving elsewhere, as he searches for a huge contract in his prime years.
It has previously been reported that Jackson has been pushing for a contract more in line with that of Deshaun Watson’s at the Cleveland Browns, after he was handed a five-year, fully guaranteed $230million deal.
In fact, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was the first NFL chief to publicly criticize Watson’s deal, although Jackson has since insisted he is ‘a man of his own’ and won’t be impacted by other contracts.
Jim Harbaugh will have to wait and see whether his star quarterback stays with the franchise
Jackson notoriously doesn’t have any agent and for his entire career has negotiated for himself in discussions with the Ravens.
The quarterback has not played a game since December 4, when he injured his left knee against the Denver Broncos.
He was initially designated as week-to-week by head coach John Harbaugh, and was expected to return before the end of the regular season.
That was then pushed back, and Jackson posted on Twitter Thursday to imply that he wouldn’t be available for Sunday night’s game.
Deshaun Watson’s five-year, fully guaranteed $230m deal changed the quarterback market
In his message, he wrote: ‘Thank you everyone for your support and concerns regarding my injuries. I want to give you all an update as I am in the recovery process.
‘I’ve suffered a PCL grade 2 sprain on the borderline of a strain 3. There is still inflammation surrounding my knee and my knee remains unstable. I’m still in good spirits, as I continue with treatments on the road to recovery.
‘I wish I could be out there with my guys more than anything but I can’t give a 100% of myself to my guys and fans I’m still hopeful we still have a chance.’
Now, though, if Jackson cannot come to an agreement with the Ravens, he may well have played his last game for the franchise.
As it stands, he is heading into the offseason without a contract, while the Ravens could yet use their franchise tag to keep him on their books.