The Ravens are back from the NFL Owners Meetings and it was, once again, a wild week.
Here are my thoughts, all in 50 words or less:
Every new development in the Lamar Jackson situation seems to bring no real change. The draft is the next possible inflection point, as teams will either get their quarterback of the future or not. That's when clubs make their moves, while this is a time when they mask their intentions.
It's fair to point to Deebo Samuel's trade request from the 49ers and contract extension three months later as a possible outcome for the Ravens-Jackson negotiations, as The Baltimore Banner’s Jonas Shaffer wrote this week. When money is the issue, it can sometimes be worked out. And time can help.
While the hope is to work out a deal with Jackson eventually, the Ravens must, and do, have contingency plans. We're seeing some clues about what those are. Baltimore's needs, salary-cap space, and potential draft pick ammunition are all up in the air pending the possibility of a trade.
News of Baltimore’s reported contract offer to Baker Mayfield isn't surprising. I always got the sense that they liked Mayfield's moxie, even dating back to the 2018 draft. He was way out of reach then at No. 1 overall, but you never know how fast a career can change directions.
The Ravens' veteran free-agent quarterback options have dwindled. Carson Wentz? Teddy Bridgewater? Maybe somebody shakes loose after the draft, or there's always the option of making a trade. It's not an ideal scenario to be in with the possibility of Jackson sitting out for who knows how long.
Baltimore’s reported meeting with Odell Beckham and reported remaining interest in DeAndre Hopkins and Courtland Sutton proves they could still reel in a big wide receiver fish. Adding any of them would be tough under the current salary-cap restraints, but it seems Baltimore is keeping tabs in case that changes.
Harbaugh made clear what we all assumed. "We're going to draft a receiver," he said at the Owners Meetings. Harbaugh said he's personally watched tape of about 40 receivers in this year's class and saw "there's a lot of guys that fit the way we play." Read: big-play potential.
One consistent clue we keep getting about what Todd Monken's offense will look like is that the pace will be turned up. Harbaugh again mentioned more up-tempo and no-huddle in his latest meeting with reporters. The play clock should no longer be a frequent concern for Ravens fans in 2023.
I hadn't thought about the possibility of Daniel Faalele playing left guard. While I expect right tackle is his ultimate landing spot, I'm intrigued. However, keep an eye on veteran John Simpson. He has extensive starting experience and great size. Harbaugh said he expects Simpson will "surprise some people."
Orioles opening day is a holiday around Baltimore, as it should be. Good to see a talented, young team ready to contend for the playoffs and hopefully a championship. Rebuilds are painful, but the patience paid off. The Ravens, however, have been clear they don't want to follow that script.