The balance of power in the AFC North is up in the air going into the 2023 NFL season. NFL free agency has seen a little activity from the Cincinnati Bengals, mostly losses besides signing Orlando Brown Jr., but they remain the class of the division.
The Pittsburgh Steelers remain steady despite continued question marks around QB Kenny Pickett while the Cleveland Browns have made a lot of moves but the future revolves around QB Deshaun Watson bouncing back.
Watson’s contract has recently been noted as causing problems for another AFC North team.
NFL free agency has been mostly quiet for the Baltimore Ravens as they try to figure out what the future holds for QB Lamar Jackson. The team gave Jackson the non-exclusive franchise tag which allows him to negotiate with other teams but allows Baltimore to match any offer sheet.
Until Monday, it was thought that the two sides would likely come to some kind of agreement, whether based on the franchise tender or a long-term deal. Jackson may have ended that thought with a couple of tweets where he shared that he requested a trade from the Ravens a few weeks ago:
in regards to my future plans. As of March 2nd I requested a trade from the Ravens organization for which the Ravens has not been interested in meeting my value, any and everyone that’s has met me or been around me know I love the game of football and my dream is to help a team— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) March 27, 2023
Of interest, Jackson’s tweet came out at a very interesting time:
Lamar Jackson’s announcement came at the exact time that Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh was set to speak to reporters at the league’s annual meeting.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 27, 2023
At the root of the issue, Jackson doesn’t believe that the Ravens are interested in “meeting my value” but the franchise tag makes it difficult for other teams to want to negotiate a deal they think Baltimore will match.
During his time with the media, Harbaugh reiterated that he believes in Jackson moving forward as the team’s quarterback.
We may be a long way away from the resolution to this story but the AFC North could be dramatically different if the Ravens have to rebuild around a rookie quarterback (limited veteran options available at this point) in 2023.