The Baltimore Ravens offseason is going to be defined by the Lamar Jackson contract saga. Currently set to hit free agency, the quarterback and team have until March 13th to agree to a deal before the legal tampering window opens. While the two sides haven’t made any public progress, tight end Mark Andrews believes that Lamar Jackson will be back as the Ravens franchise quarterback.
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Mark Andrews Optimistic About Lamar Jackson Contract Negotiations
The First Interview
While making an appearance on the Up & Adams show, the topic eventually turned to Lamar Jackson and his impending deal. It goes without saying that both sides have been struggling to find common ground for quite some time, with some reports even saying that the two sides are off by up to $100 million.
Fortunately, Ravens fans can take some solace in the fact that Mark Andrews doesn’t appear too worried. While on the program, Andrews said that “one thing that Lamar always preaches is that he’s a Raven, he wants to be a Raven.” The tight end goes on to talk about his quarterback’s unique skill saying “[h]e’s such a special player, he’s one of my favorite people in the world…just a guy you always want to have around.”
“The one thing that Lamar always preaches is that he’s a Raven and wants to be a Raven… He is one of my favorite people in the world.”
Mark Andrews on Lamar Jackson
— Up & Adams (@UpAndAdamsShow) February 7, 2023
Needless to say, Mark Andrews is not a part of the Ravens contract negotiations, nor will his opinion singlehandedly sway the organization or Jackson to compromise the terms of a potential agreement. However, with that being said, Andrews is clearly close to Jackson, and he doesn’t appear to be worried about his good buddy playing elsewhere in the future.
Mark Andrews: Lamar Jackson Is A Raven For Life
This wasn’t the only time Andrews stepped up to the mic during the buildup to Super Bowl LVII. Joining Pro Football Talk, host Mike Florio asked the three-time Pro Bowler if he worries that Jackson might leave. Andrews’ response should be music to Baltimore fans’ ears, as he said “I think Lamar’s a Ravens for life…I know the organization wants Lamar…both parties want to get the deal done.”
When Mark Andrews goes to sleep at night, does he honestly not have a single doubt enter his brian that he might not have Lamar Jackson next year?
“No. I think Lamar is a Raven for life.”
Mark then offered to give up his paycheck to keep Lamar. pic.twitter.com/pH4iKe8XbY
— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) February 7, 2023
Andrews spoke with more certainty in this interview than he did in the first, and hopefully, that confidence is justified. As previously mentioned, Jackson is set to hit free agency in just over a month, but the Ravens can extend their negotiation window if they so choose by using the exclusive franchise tag. This would prevent other teams from talking to Jackson, and easily gives the Ravens the best opportunity of agreeing to a long-term deal.
If, however, the two sides remain far apart, Baltimore will have to consider trading their star quarterback. They should have no shortage of suitors if that happens, and while it might help their long-term outlook, it will definitely hurt them in the short term. Finding a franchise quarterback is easily the most difficult task in sports, and even if the Ravens get a boatload of picks for Jackson, there’s no guarantee they find a quarterback anywhere close to as good as the former MVP.
Yes, there are valid concerns about Jackson’s ability to stay healthy over the length of his next contract. However, the Ravens need to accept that risk and find a way to keep Jackson in Baltimore for the foreseeable future.
Main Photo: Paul Rutherford – USA Today Sports