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Ravens News 5/5: Contract Details and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Lamar Jackson Press Conference Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson Is ‘Very Eager’ to Connect With New Wide Receivers

Clifton Brown,

“I’m very eager,” Jackson said. “I want to throw for like 6,000 yards with the weapons we have.

“I’m not an individual awards type of guy, or stat watcher. (But) we’ve got explosive guys. Like coach said with the addition of Zay, OBJ, we’ve got Bateman going to be 100%. Can’t forget about my boy Mark, Likely. I just can’t wait to get rolling.”

Jackson confirmed he reached out to Beckham about signing with the Ravens a few weeks ago. At that time, Jackson was still uncertain how long it would take to reach an agreement with the Ravens.

“He (Beckham) reached out to me,” Jackson said. “I was like, ‘You’re thinking about coming to us, I’m still part of the Ravens.’ I was hyped about it. I’ve got Rashod, I’ve got Duv, I’ve got Mark, Likely. I’ve got these guys and then a new addition like him. We can go somewhere. I was definitely hyped about that.”

Jackson is already very familiar with Flowers, Baltimore’s first-round pick who is also a South Florida native. They have connected on the phone and will try to make plans to work out together.

“I’m very excited. He’s well-known down there in South Florida, youth football on up,” Jackson said.

Jackson said there was a possibility he would organize an offseason workout with a few of his targets prior to training camp.

“Hopefully I can get the guys together and start building our chemistry,” he said.

With massive contract, Lamar Jackson demonstrated another type of winning

Jarrett Bell, USA Today

With the ink dried on the pact, it was largely a win-win scenario for the Ravens and Jackson, now bound together through the 2027 season.

No, Jackson didn’t get the fully guaranteed contract like Deshaun Watson received from the Cleveland Browns in 2022 (5 years, $230 million) that prompted such a strong reaction of opposition from Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti.

Yet Jackson, whose deal guarantees $185 million after two years, according to figures reported by Pro Football Talk, won with an average salary that tops the averages for the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts ($51 million) and New York Jets’ Aaron Rodgers ($50.271 million). And the three-year payout of $156 million exceeds the $150.8 million for Rodgers.

And Jackson wins, too, in that he perhaps saved close to $8 million in agent fees, if he had paid out the standard 3% to an agent for a $260 million deal.

The Ravens, meanwhile, won by not fully guaranteeing the deal at signing. In a bigger picture, other NFL teams – aka the NFL System – scored a major victory in that the line was held against fully guaranteed contracts.

Ravens film study: How ‘electric’ rookie WR Zay Flowers can help the offense

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner

Shot plays

Of course, the Ravens won’t mind taking their time on big-play opportunities for Flowers, either. Over his final three seasons at Boston College, he emerged as one of college football’s elite downfield threats, with 31 catches and 14 touchdowns on passes of at least 20 yards downfield.

Flowers’ speed and ball-tracking ability were so rare that he could win against Atlantic Coast Conference defenses designed to eliminate him. In a win over Louisville last season, he beat a “bracket” coverage for a 57-yard jump-ball touchdown.

Maybe Flowers’ most important contribution on downfield shots was the margin of error he afforded Boston College’s inconsistent quarterbacks. When he turned around opposing defensive backs, the distance he created at times was almost comical. That’s good news for Jackson, whose struggles with deep passes continued last season (11-for-40 for 353 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions).

2023 NFL Draft: Will McDonald IV, Calijah Kancey among the most questionable selections made by each team

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports


Tavius Robinson, EDGE, Ole Miss (Round 4, No. 124 overall)

Robinson is a great combination of size and speed. Baltimore has not had consistent production from that group and was searching for another body to throw into the equation. He does a good job of dislodging the ball on sack opportunities but ranked lower on my personal board. The thought process was sound though.

Biggest Remaining Holes for All 32 Teams After the 2023 NFL Draft

Matt Verderame, Sports Illustrated

Baltimore Ravens

Biggest needs: CB, edge, DT

It’s a rare time when the Ravens aren’t loaded defensively, but the present is such a time. Baltimore has stacked the offense by extending quarterback Lamar Jackson, drafting receiver Zay Flowers and signing Odell Beckham Jr. However, general manager Eric DeCosta did little to bolster the defense, and it could be an issue. The Ravens didn’t bring back a litany of veteran defenders hitting free agency, including corner Marcus Peters, edge rushers Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul, and defensive end Calais Campbell, who signed with the Falcons. If Peters, Houston and Pierre-Paul aren’t re-signed, the Ravens will have problems across the defense.

Ravens roster projection: Here’s where six draft picks fit on the depth chart

Brian Wacker, The Baltimore Sun

Inside linebacker

Shortly after the Ravens drafted Clemson inside linebacker Trenton Simpson in the third round, Patrick Queen tweeted, simply, “Sheesh.” That told him (and everyone else) all they needed to know about what the Ravens were going to do when it came to Queen’s fifth-year option.

On Monday, they officially declined it, meaning Queen will spend this season alongside Roquan Smith in the middle before becoming a free agent in 2024. The Ravens could trade Queen before or during the season, but they’d need a starter (or good draft capital) in return and they’re not likely to get it for the 23-year-old, who broke out last season to lead the Ravens in tackles with 117. With $100 million over five years already tied up in Smith, committing to keep Queen at the cost of $12.7 million next season was a nonstarter.

As for Simpson, he’s fast (4.43-second 40-yard dash time) and versatile, having played in coverage and on the edge at Clemson, so he’ll likely see the field in a variety of situations and join Malik Harrison as a backup on the inside, with Josh Ross, Del’Shawn Phillips and Kristian Welch behind them.