Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are tied together, but only tentatively. After deploying the franchise tag on Jackson prior to the start of free agency, things have gone in a tailspin between the QB and the franchise. Now, Jackson has officially requested a trade out of Baltimore, leaving both his and the team's future shrouded in mystery Now, it's anyone's guess as to where Jackson will actually suit up in 2023.
How, exactly, did we get here? Let's recap the quarterback's contract timeline with an overview:
April 26, 2018 -- The Ravens draft Lamar Jackson No. 32 overall after trading up with the Eagles.
June 5, 2018 -- Jackson signs a four-year, $9.47 million rookie contract with the Ravens, negotiating the deal alongside his mother, Felicia Jones, and without an official agent.
Dec. 12, 2018 -- Jackson is named the Ravens' starting QB after going 3-1 in place of an injured Joe Flacco.
Feb. 1, 2020 -- Jackson is announced as the unanimous winner of the 2019 NFL MVP after his Pro Bowl debut as a full-time starter, totaling 47 touchdowns and rushing for more than 1,200 yards while guiding a 14-2 finish by the Ravens.
Jan. 3, 2021 -- Jackson logs a second straight 1,000-yard rushing season, but weeks later is forced to leave the Ravens' second playoff game early due to a concussion.
April 30, 2021 -- The Ravens exercise the fifth-year option on Jackson's rookie contract, securing the QB through the 2022 season for a guaranteed $23M.
June 24, 2021 -- Conflicting reports emerge about the role of Jackson's mother, Felicia, in negotiations toward a long-term extension with the Ravens. Eligible for a new deal entering his fourth NFL season, Jackson remains without an agent, albeit with Felicia reportedly advising his contract talks.
Dec. 12, 2021 -- Jackson suffers an ankle injury in a Week 14 loss to the Browns, then misses the final four games of the season, the Ravens' first non-playoff campaign since he took over under center.
March 2, 2022 -- Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta says he'd like to sign Jackson to a new deal ahead of the QB's contract year, but suggests Jackson has yet to discuss an extension in earnest: "We will work at Lamar's urgency."
March 18, 2022 -- The Ravens' rival Browns sign newly acquired QB Deshaun Watson to an unprecedented five-year, fully guaranteed $230M contract, prompting speculation Jackson will seek a similar per-year average ($46M).
March 29, 2022 -- Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti doubles down on the notion that Jackson isn't ready to negotiate a new deal, telling reporters the GM can only do so much to bring Jackson to the table. He praises the QB regardless, championing his "unique as hell" focus on winning a title rather than cashing in on an extension.
March 30, 2022 -- Jackson downplays speculation that his unresolved long-term deal means he's planning a future split from the Ravens: "I love my Ravens," he writes on Twitter. "I don't know who the hell (is) putting that false narrative out that I'm having thoughts about leaving. Stop (trying to) read my mind."
July 21, 2022 -- The Cardinals sign QB Kyler Murray, drafted one year after Jackson, to a five-year, $230.5M extension.
Aug. 21, 2022 -- The Ravens reportedly offer Jackson more than Murray to secure him long term. But Jackson remains unsigned beyond 2022, apparently preferring a fully guaranteed deal in the mold of the Browns' Deshaun Watson.
Sept. 9, 2022 -- Two days before their season opener, the Ravens announce they will table contract discussions with Jackson until the 2023 offseason: "We greatly appreciate how [Lamar] has handled this process and we are excited about our team with Lamar leading the way. We will continue to work towards a long-term contract after the season, but for now we are looking forward to a successful 2022 campaign."
Dec. 4, 2022 -- Jackson suffers a PCL sprain in Week 13 against the Broncos. Coach John Harbaugh says the QB's injury isn't season-ending, instead ruling Jackson "week to week."
Jan. 12, 2023 -- After missing the Ravens' final five regular-season games, Jackson rules himself out for the team's opening playoff game against the Bengals, tweeting that his knee is "unstable" and he can't give "100 percent" of himself. Still, Baltimore is reportedly committed to retaining the QB into 2023, with emergency plans to use the franchise tag in the offseason.
Jan. 16, 2023 -- One day after the Ravens fall to the Bengals with Tyler Huntley starting in his place, Jackson posts a cryptic message to social media: "When you have something good, you don't play with it. You don't take chances losing it. You don't neglect it. When you have something good, you pour into it. You appreciate it. Because when you take care of something good, that good thing takes care of you too."
Jan. 19, 2023 -- Harbaugh, who will go on to defend Jackson's absence from the playoff game, to which the QB did not travel, says he's "200 percent" sure Jackson remains the team's franchise QB. Meanwhile, Greg Roman, the Ravens' offensive coordinator since 2019, announces his resignation.
Feb. 14, 2023 -- The Ravens hire Todd Monken as their new coordinator, considering Jackson's previous input about a new hire but not directly involving the QB in their search.
March 2, 2023 -- Wide receiver Rashod Bateman slams GM Eric DeCosta after the latter criticizes his own team's ability to develop pass catchers, arguing DeCosta has been "pointing the finger at us and [Jackson]" for offensive struggles. Bateman quickly apologizes.
March 7, 2023 -- Hours before the franchise tag deadline, the Ravens use the non-exclusive tag on Jackson, temporarily retaining the QB for 2023 at a guaranteed $32.4M, but enabling other teams to negotiate with him at the start of free agency. In doing so, Baltimore forgoes the use of an exclusive tag, which would've guaranteed Jackson $45M and prevented him from speaking with other clubs.
March 7, 2023 -- Several teams, including the Dolphins, Falcons and Panthers, reportedly withdraw from potential pursuit of Jackson, even while entering the offseason with an apparent QB need. Speculation arises that NFL owners are not just wary of Jackson's injury history, but may be working together -- willfully or not -- to avoid a continuing trend of fully guaranteeing lucrative QB contracts.
March 27, 2023 -- Jackson pressed the red button. The quarterback took to social media to officially announce that he has requested a trade from the Ravens organization. Jackson revealed that this request was actually made on March 2nd and added that "the Ravens has not been interested in meeting my value."
March 27, 2023 -- Patriots owner Robert Kraft revealed at the annual league meeting in Arizona that rapper Meek Mill texted him a few days prior to tell him that Jackson wants to play in New England. Kraft added that it would be Bill Belichick's decision.
March 28, 2023 -- Lions head coach Dan Campbell ruled out a run at Jackson, saying: "But, man, we've got a quarterback. So, I'm like, 'We've got a quarterback, and thank God we got one.' So, we're good. But, man, he's a heck of a talent."
March 28, 2023 -- Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera told reporters that the team will not be pursuing Jackson, saying: "That's just something that never felt suited to what we wanted to do. I know he's a tremendous talent. I know he's a player that can impact your team. That was just the direction for us as a football team."
March 28, 2023 -- The Colts have been a dark horse contender for Jackson, but owner Jim Irsay did recently come out and say that he does not believe in fully-guaranteed contracts, which could prove to be a snag in possible acquiring the QB.
March 29, 2023 -- As quickly as the Jackson to New England rumors came out, they've been dissolved. Following Kraft revealing that Meek Mill expressed to him Jackson's interest in the Patriots, reports have since surfaced that the team is not in pursuit of the former MVP.
March 29, 2023 -- Following Falcons owner Arthur Blank questioning Jackson's durability and longevity, the quarterback took to social media to defend his injury history. "Let's get real. I rather have a 100% PCL than go out there and play horrible forcing myself to put my guys in a bad situation now that's selfish to me," Jackson tweeted.