Former NFL GM and current ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum has urged the Baltimore Ravens to get a deal done for Lamar Jackson as soon as possible so that it doesn’t become a distraction.
The Baltimore Ravens and their franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson have for the past few months been locked in negotiations over a new contract, with the 25-year-old former NFL MVP heading into the final year of his current deal.
There have been some twists and turns when it comes to the negotiations, including Jackson being absent for some of the Ravens’ offseason workouts a few months ago, perhaps as a message to the team that he wanted the deal to be done quickly.
However with the NFL season very soon to be upon us, with the Ravens set to play their first preseason game this weekend, they are running out of time to get it done before the season gets underway. And if that happens, then according to Mike Tannenbaum, it becomes something of a distraction.
What has Tannenbaum said?
Speaking on ESPN’s Get Up, Tannenbaum claimed that it was far better for both sides to get it done as soon as possible and that it would prevent players from being asked about it consistently during the season when they should be focusing on the games that they’re playing:
“From a front office perspective, you want to minimise distractions heading into the season, you want to have your players signed, you want to be focused on your opponent.
“Lamar Jackson is a rare person, he can minimise these distractions, but it’s also a distraction for every other player, because the Dan Graziano’s of the world are going to ask all the players about ‘hey, what do you think that your quarterbacks can be a free agent?’
“So you want to do everything you can within reason to get a deal done. And again, knowing that Deshaun Watson signed for $230 million in your division, it kind of sets the market, whether you like it or not, if you’re the Ravens. So getting a deal done, actually does help. It’s a massive intangible and Ninko [Rob Ninkovich], you know as a former player, you don’t want any distractions heading into the season.”
The Ravens as a side could really do with as few distractions as possible as they look to bounce back from what was a disappointing season for them last year, where a string of injuries meant that they finished 4th in the AFC North with an 8-9 record.
Even more of an impact than that
One other distraction that needs to be considered is how playing without a contract might impact Jackson and how he plays on gameday. Will he be as committed when making a run and sliding knowing that he doesn’t have the safety of a long-term deal secured?
And given how important his legs are to his game, that might not be a risk that the Ravens are willing to take, as it would also impact whatever success they could have as a franchise.
So really it is a race against time for a deal to get done before it starts to have a real impact on Jackson and the Ravens, now we just wait and see if they can get it done in time.