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Don’t Worry: Lamar Is Here to Stay Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens

Street Talk Don’t Worry: Lamar Is Here to Stay

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Don’t mess with Lamar.

The NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks sent reverberations throughout the Ravens fan base when he suggested the team package a pair of first-round picks (27th and 31st overall) to move up and select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in this year’s draft. This would allow the team to find a trade partner for Lamar Jackson as opposed to paying him $40 million annually with a new contract.

Controversial? Yes. 

Clickbait? Not quite.

Brooks argued the Ravens could “plug and play” with a dual-threat quarterback with similar success because of their offensive game plan. 

“No disrespect to No.8 but college supplies plenty of QBs that fit the bill,” he wrote on social media.

Doug Farrar, an NFL editor at USA Today, agreed with the strategy. 

“I don’t think it’s completely crazy — moreover, you could see NFL teams taking this as more of a paradigm standard,” Farrar responded on Twitter

Jackson offered his response:

This would be a college approach to the pro game — traditionally a recipe for failure — to have turnover at quarterback every three or four years.

There is absolutely no way the Ravens are following this strategy. 

The team is not going to part ways with a player two years removed from being named NFL MVP. Jackson is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL and the Ravens are confident that he will lead them to the franchise’s third Super Bowl title.

Jackson has his detractors, who criticize him as a glorified running back, ignoring the stats.

He has gone 30-7 as the starter in the regular season. Jackson has thrown for 7,085 yards with 68 touchdowns and 18 interceptions over that stretch. 

Jackson is indeed efficient at running the ball, and is the only quarterback in NFL history to run for over 1,000 yards in two seasons and has 2,906 yards rushing and 19 scores overall.

The Ravens are fully committed to a long-term deal with Jackson that will have its own long-term repercussions. GM Eric DeCosta said Jackson’s new deal will impact the way the Ravens conduct business over the next several years. The team had a similar situation with quarterback Joe Flacco after he landed a monstrous deal on the heels of his Super-Bowl MVP performance.

“It will change the way that we do contracts, potentially,” DeCosta said. “We will have to be probably a little bit more careful about which players we sign and which players we don’t sign. We may lose some good, young players. That’s unfortunately just the salary cap age that we’re in, and it happens to every single team. 

“So, we’ll be aggressive, if possible. I think the Draft will continue and will always remain the lifeblood of this organization when it comes to building this team and building the roster, and Draft picks will be more important than ever.”

That’s a risk the Ravens appear fully ready to take with Jackson. Most of the fan base appears to be on board with this plan. Jackson has become the face of the franchise and the hope is he will continue to get better heading into his fourth year. 

Jackson quieted many of his naysayers last season when he won his first playoff game. 

He plans to further quiet his detractors this year. 

The Ravens will happily absorb the cost. 

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About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich
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