As he often does on the football field, Lamar Jackson has tried to go on the offensive with regard to his ongoing contract situation. With Jackson and the Ravens still at a stalemate, a representative for the former league MVP had begun contacting teams in an effort to create a possible landing spot for the quarterback, according to Pro Football Talk, and telling them he's ready to move on from Baltimore.
Jackson's approach has hit a roadblock, however. On Thursday, the NFL issued a memo to teams, obtained by CBS Sports, prohibiting them from communicating with a person by the name of Ken Francis, who appears to be serving as Jackson's representative. Because he is not an NFLPA certified agent, teams are not permitted to speak with teams regarding Jackson or any other player.
"To be clear, Mr. Jackson is not currently represented by an NFLPA certified agent," the memo states.
Jackson, in response to the league memo, tweeted shortly after, "Stop Lying that man never tried to negotiate for me."
Jackson and the Ravens have been unable to come to terms on a new deal despite several meetings between the two sides over the past two years.
Talks reportedly began regarding a possible extension for Jackson shortly after the Ravens picked up his fifth-year option back in 2021. The negotiations included the input of Jackson's mother, Felicia, who has reportedly served as an adviser for Jackson, who does not have an agent.
It's been long believed that Deshaun Watson's record-setting deal that he signed with Cleveland last year has further complicated Jackson's situation with Baltimore. The thought is that Jackson feels that he should be similarly compensated given what he has done over his career in comparison to Watson. Based on Tuesday's report, however, it doesn't appear that Jackson is looking to match the $230 million guaranteed that was included in Watson's deal.
The two sides tabled contract talks before the start of the 2022 season. Jackson played at his usual Pro Bowl level through 12 games before an injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Jackson was forced to defend himself on social media after a narrative began to form suggestion that he was choosing to hold himself out of games in order to protect his value.
Throughout the ongoing process with the Ravens, Jackson has received support from his teammates, who have clamored for Baltimore to sign him to a long-term deal.
"You can't let a guy like him go," defensive end Calais Campbell said shortly after the Ravens' 2022 season ended. "I know it's football, and there's always some new exciting toy, new exciting kid that has potential to go out there and be great. but this is a for-sure, a known. You know Lamar Jackson is an incredible player. I think it's in the best interests of the Ravens' organization to give him a long-term contract, make him our guy."
Several teams, including the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons, may be inclined to make a run at signing Jackson, a former league leader in passing touchdowns who also holds the record for most yards rushing by a quarterback in a single season. It may ultimately come down to whether or not any team is willing to give up so much to acquire him. If not, Jackson will play 2023 under the tag unless he decides to go the Le'Veon Bell route and sit out the season.