Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said he's preparing for the 2023 season as if Lamar Jackson is still the team's quarterback, despite the former NFL MVP announcing he requested a trade away from the team earlier this month.
Harbaugh was speaking to reporters during the AFC coaches breakfast at the ongoing NFL Owners' Meetings in Arizona on Monday (March 27) as Jackson sent a tweet revealing his trade request made on March 2.
"I haven't seen the tweet," Harbaugh said via NFL.com. "It's an ongoing process. I'm following it very closely, just like everybody else is here and looking forward to a resolution. I'm excited. Thinking about Lamar all the time. Thinking about him as our quarterback. We're building our offense around that idea. I'm just looking forward to getting back to football and I'm confident that's going to happen."
Jackson said he requested a trade earlier this month after the Ravens had "not been interested in meeting my value" during negotiations on a long-term deal and later decided to instead place a $32.4 million non-exclusive franchise tag on him.
Harbaugh said he hasn't spoken to Jackson recently, but is still optimistic that Baltimore can get a long-term deal done.
"We don't have a gauge on that," Harbaugh said via NFL.com. "Oh, it's been a while. I mean, you know, it's going to have to be. Like I said, it's a unique situation, but when we get back together, you know, and I'm really hopeful that happens. That's what I want to see. You know, it's going to be great. It's going to be good."
The Ravens had until 4:00 p.m. ET on March 7 to notify the league about its franchise tag decision to place a non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson earlier this month. A non-exclusive franchise tag allows Baltimore to have the option to either match another team's offer to sign the quarterback or receive trade compensation.
Jackson led Baltimore to an 8-4 record, which included throwing for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 203 of 326 passing, while also recording a team best 764 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns on 112 attempts, prior to suffering a season-ending PCL injury. The Ravens ranked ninth among all 32 NFL teams with an average of 23.1 points per game during Jackson's 12 starts, but dropped to 13.0 points per game, the second fewest in the league, while going 2-3 in his absence during their final five games of the regular-season.
The Ravens reportedly offered Jackson a rejected deal worth $113 million in guarantees that would have "eventually raised" to a total of $113 million, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN's Ryan Clark in January.
Last week, the NFL sent a memo to its 32 teams warning not to negotiate with Jackson's business partner, Ken Francis, who was referred to as "an uncertified person." The memo, which was obtained and shared by ESPN's Adam Schefter, warned teams that Francis, who is not certified by the NFLPA, was "prohibited from negotiating Offer Sheets or Player Contracts, or discussing potential trades on behalf of any NFL player or prospective player or assisting in or advising with respect to such negotiations."
"Clubs are reminded that, under Article 48 of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, an Offer Sheet, which may result in an NFL Player Contract, may only be negotiated with the player, if he is acting on his own behalf, or with the player's NFLPA certified agent. To be clear, Mr. Jackson is not currently represented by an NFLPA certified agent," the league wrote. "Violation of this rule may result in disapproval of any Offer Sheet or resulting Player Contract entered into by Mr. Jackson and the new Club."
Jackson denied reports that Francis was negotiating deals with NFL teams
"Stop Lying that man never tried to negotiate for me," Jackson tweeted.
Jackson, a former NFL MVP and Offensive Rookie of the Year, has spent his entire NFL career with the Ravens since being selected No. 32 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.
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