How Lamar Jackson's contract year could become a huge distraction

Charles Robinson & Dan Wetzel take a look at Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson as he approaches his final season on a rookie contract. Charles outlines why the Ravens' lack of offensive depth could put a harsh spotlight on Jackson's unclear contract future.

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Video transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: Baltimore Ravens-- the only thing to me with the Ravens, I think, that is really important here is if Lamar Jackson-- if there's not a contract extension that gets done-- and now supposedly there have been some talks heading toward training camp. It doesn't sound to me like it's been as hot and heavy as it needed to be.

But that said, I look at the roster around him. Man, there's from a wide receiver standpoint, not a whole lot there. From a running back standpoint, I don't think the depth is reliable. OK. Tight end standpoint, great. You got Mark Andrews.

I sit there and I look at that offense. And there's no way in hell do I think that if a contract isn't done, it is going to become a massive distraction over the course of the season. And here's why. There is a chance that given the pieces around him, Lamar Jackson doesn't have a banner season.

A, he's got to stay healthy and be on the field the entire season. B, he can't be healthy and be on the field the entire season and play anything less than a top five, six, seven quarterback. OK.

If he's like fringe top 10, if he's in there-- if he's good but not great, it's going to be a, wait a minute. This is like a $50 million a year quarterback. It's going to be a problem all season long in terms of how the media looks at this. It's going to-- people are going to talk about it. They're going to ask about it. Nobody's going to want to answer the questions.

And I think there's a chance, and a too large a percentage chance, that it goes completely the wrong way. He gets hurt or plays at a subpar level. And then it turns into just the malignant situation of Baker Mayfield in Cleveland, where all of a sudden Cleveland's like, oh [BLEEP], maybe we don't want to do an extension here.

DAN WETZEL: Wow. I don't-- I don't know about that. I think Lamar is going to be fine.


DAN WETZEL: I think they redesigned the offense so the offense is Lamar Jackson and giving him space to run, space to be creative, a little less constrained or we got to feed this receiver. We've got to keep this guy happy. We've got Lamar Jackson, get out the way.

[? Now ?] will that work, I don't know. But I think they have a ton of faith in Lamar Jackson. This is a little bit of a throwback of the offense to a couple of years ago.

So very interesting. I'm not going to make a statement that this is [INAUDIBLE]. Lamar Jackson is going to win the MVP again. But I think this offense is more-- they realize that we're going to build-- everything is going to go through Lamar Jackson, and we mean it this time.