BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens saw their season come to a close against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC wild card game on Sunday evening, losing 24-17 and ending a once promising campaign while potentially closing the door on the Lamar Jackson era.
Jackson suffered a sprained knee back in Week 13, and he did not travel with Baltimore to their AFC wild-card game - a decision criticized by many who felt he should have attempted to play through the injury considering the circumstances.
“Even Lamar Jackson at 70 percent probably gives you a better shot than Tyler Huntley or Anthony Brown would’ve in this game,” Locked on Ravens host Kevin Oestreicher told Peter Bukowski on the Locked on Sports Today podcast. “Not traveling with the team did rub a lot of people the wrong way in the Baltimore fanbase.”
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With the season in the rearview mirror, the Ravens now have an important decision on their hands: do they want to commit to keeping Jackson in Baltimore long term? Baltimore refused to give Jackson a five-year, fully guaranteed contract in 2022, leading to a situation where Jackson could end up facing free agency unless the team opts to franchise tag the dual-threat quarterback.
“There’s been a lot of in the darkness for this Ravens team right now,” Oestreicher continued. “And that all goes into the offseason where there are even more questions. Will they franchise tag Lamar? Is there a long term extension?”
Baltimore is reportedly still interested in negotiating a long-term extension with Jackson, but both sides are struggling to agree on the amount of guaranteed money, and the recent mega-extension signed by Deshaun Watson - which included $230 million fully guaranteed - is only driving the price up even higher for Baltimore.
That leaves Baltimore fans in a situation where there are, as Oestreicher puts it, “a lot more questions than answers right now.”