The Ravens hosted their normal pre-draft press conference at the beginning of April. It had an unusual start to the event, with team officials quickly shutting down any questions pertaining to quarterback Lamar Jackson; it left an uneasy feeling in some.
The mood quickly changed a week later when the Ravens announced an agreement with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. For the first time in months it seemed like there was positive communication from both ends. Jackson was seen on Facetime with Beckham and visiting clubs. The Ravens’ social media account even reposted some of Jackson’s stuff.
The Ravens announced the official signing of Beckham on Thursday and held an introductory press conference to introduce him. Unlike the one from a week ago, this one had many questions pertaining to Jackson, and this time Head Coach John Harbaugh and General Manager Eric DeCosta answered them. So did Beckham, as the first question to start the media presser was how Jackson factored into Beckham's decision to play for Baltimore.
“The goal was to come here and have that possibility to play with him, and I’m excited about that opportunity,” Beckham said.
Immediately after, the second question was whether Beckham had received any assurances about Jackson playing for the Ravens in 2023.
“I didn’t get any assurances for anything,” Beckham said. “You know, life’s uncertain. To me, I just was excited about the possibility of that. My thoughts would be that [Jackson] would be here. I know that [Harbaugh and DeCosta] want him to be here. At the end of the day, that’s up to them.”
Beckham, Harbaugh and DeCosta received more Jackson questions as the conference went on. Both Harbaugh and DeCosta continued with the normal responses they’ve given all offseason: Lamar is the quarterback here, we are planning for him to play here, we love Lamar here, etc. Near the halfway point of the presser, another question came in for Beckham, asking if he had any concerns about signing with Baltimore with the uncertainty regarding Jackson and the quarterback position in Baltimore.
“I mean, if you look at the other situations I was going into, everything was uncertain.” Beckham said. “Obviously, I would assume that it’s going to work out, you know I have that faith and that hope. Lamar, if you’re watching I would love to get to work with you. Hopefully that gets done. When you think about the Ravens, you definitely think about Lamar.”
So despite the good vibes we got from the Beckham signing, nobody could offer any new concrete updates on Jackson’s future status with the Ravens. While that’s disappointing, even if it’s somewhat expected, it’s important to remember how big the move for Beckham is. Offering a wide receiver $15 million guaranteed for a single year is no small decision and it’s not one the Ravens brass would make without, at least, very high hopes Jackson will return.