Latest on Lamar Jackson’s injury and contract situation

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Lamar Jackson could play his final game with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, if he hasn’t already.

Jackson’s availability for the Ravens’ wild-card round game against the Cincinnati Bengals remains in question due to a knee injury he suffered on Dec. 4 that has cost him the last five games. He wasn’t spotted at the team’s first practice of the week on Wednesday, which came two days after Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that he didn’t have an update on his starting quarterback’s health status. 

Wednesday: Injury continues to bother Jackson

Initially, it was reported that Jackson would miss just a couple of games with a sprained PCL. Now it looks like his status for Sunday’s game might be in doubt as he faces an “uphill battle” to play, the NFL Network reported Wednesday. Jackson’s knee reportedly “doesn’t feel right” and there’s still swelling, making it a “long shot” for him to play on Sunday.

It’s unknown who’d start at quarterback for the Ravens if Jackson can’t go. Tyler Huntley replaced Jackson when he went down in Week 13 and started the next four games, but missed Week 18 due to shoulder and wrist injuries. He reportedly didn’t throw during the media availability portion of practice on Wednesday.

Undrafted rookie Anthony Brown started in Huntley’s place in Week 18. He completed 19 of 44 passes for 286 yards with two interceptions in the Ravens’ 27-16 loss to the Bengals.

Baltimore’s offense has struggled with Jackson out since the beginning of December. In the five games he played, Huntley completed 67% of his passes for 658 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, giving him a 77.2 passer rating. He also added 137 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown as the Ravens have averaged just 12.5 points per game since Week 13, going 3-3 over that stretch.

Tuesday: Jackson’s future in Baltimore takes a twist

Speculation on Jackson’s future in Baltimore heated up on Tuesday when the Ravens signed linebacker Roquan Smith to a five-year extension that’s reportedly worth $100 million with $45 million guaranteed and $60 million in total guarantees.

With Jackson being in the final season of his rookie deal, Sunday’s game could be his last in a Ravens jersey — if he does play. Jackson and the Ravens were unable to agree to an extension prior to the quarterback’s self-imposed deadline at the start of the regular season. Baltimore reportedly offered the 2019 NFL MVP a five-year deal worth over $250 million with $133 million guaranteed prior to the season. Jackson reportedly wanted a fully guaranteed deal similar to the one Deshaun Watson received from the Browns in March 2022, which was a five-year, $230 million deal. 

With Smith signing an extension, it’s easier for the Ravens to franchise-tag Jackson this upcoming offseason as they won’t have to pick between the All-Pro linebacker or the former MVP. 

How should Ravens handle the Lamar Jackson situation?

“Speak” discusses what the Ravens should do with their quarterback ahead of Sunday’s playoff game against the Bengals.

Jackson put up another quality regular season in 2022, throwing for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions with a 91.1 passer rating to go along with 764 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in 12 games. 

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