Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Less than a week before the season opener, quarterback Lamar Jackson threw passes onto the practice field for the Baltimore Ravens Monday, showing once again his focus on playing for the Ravens this season despite not having a contract extension .

After Monday’s practice, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked if there had ever been any discussion that Jackson would hold out and not play this season without a new deal.

“No,” Harbaugh said, before adding, “Lamar has said he’s focused on the season, he’s under contract and he’s going to have the best season he can have. He’s hoping to get a new contract and we’re hoping to get him a new contract. The rest is business. There is nothing else but to come to something that is acceptable to both sides.”

Jackson missed voluntary workouts this spring for the first time in his five-year career, but the former NFL MVP reported to training camp on time and didn’t miss a workout all summer.

Harbaugh is not aware if talks between the Ravens and Jackson have been put on hold. Last month, Jackson said Week 1 is the final step in negotiations leading up to the end of the regular season.

“I don’t have any updates,” Harbaugh said. “My interactions with Lamar were strictly football. He was 100 per cent focused and fixated on that from a football perspective.”

One of the few players in the NFL without an agent, Jackson represents himself. He is expected to speak to reporters Wednesday.

Neither Jackson nor Ravens officials have ever hinted at animosity in negotiations, which is why Harbaugh said they didn’t hear “conflicting reports.”

“He’s hoping for a new contract; we’re hoping for a new contract,” said Harbaugh. “But all the rest is business. There is nothing else but to come to something that is acceptable to both sides. That’s how all these deals are done. So obviously I’m very hopeful and I know everyone’s really hopeful to get it done.”

In March, Deshaun Watson redefined the quarterback market when he signed a record-breaking five-year, full-guarantee $230 million contract. Shortly thereafter, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti acknowledged that Watson’s deal complicates future negotiations with quarterbacks.

The two franchise quarterbacks most recently signed since then — Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson — both received less guaranteed money than Watson. Murray was guaranteed $189.5 million in July and Wilson was guaranteed $165 million Thursday.

Jackson is toying with his fifth-year option, which will net him $23.016 million this season. If the sides can’t reach a new deal by next March, Baltimore would have to give Jackson the franchise tag to keep him from becoming a free agent. Jackson would receive $45 million under the exclusive tag.

“Being here around him and also being in the locker room next to him is calm, cool and collected,” offensive tackle Morgan Moses said of how Jackson handled the contract talks. “There’s no better feeling than seeing your quarterback come out every day and ready to work.”

With Jackson, the Ravens are entering the season with high expectations. Outside linebacker Justin Houston even guaranteed a Super Bowl victory.

“I firmly believe that the power of the tongue is a matter of life and death,” said Houston, who is starting his 12th NFL season. “Well, we’re going to get this ring this year. I’m tired of hoping and wishing that we get it. I will create it.”

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34530641/baltimore-ravens-coach-john-harbaugh-lamar-jackson-locked-amid-contract-talks Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh

Emma Bowman

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