New Ravens OC not worried if Lamar holds out amid contract standoff
New Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken says he is not worried if quarterback Lamar Jackson skips offseason workouts if he receives their franchise tag.
Jackson's contractual situation with the Ravens remains unresolved, after Baltimore opted against handing the 2019 MVP a new five-year contract in 2022, with the QB playing out the fifth-year option of his rookie deal in 2022.
The Ravens were previously public in their confidence that they would secure Jackson to a new long-term deal, but nothing has been forthcoming, with no talks taking place since last offseason.
Jackson is understood to want a fully guaranteed five-year contract – similar to the outlier deal handed to Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson – which the Ravens are not willing to meet, meaning one of the parties will need to budge to agree to a new deal.
The NFL's franchise tag window opened on Tuesday running until March 7, with the Ravens expected to place the tag on their QB to prevent Jackson from becoming an unrestricted free agent should they be unable to agree to a new deal in the next fortnight.
That scenario may lead to Jackson, who represents himself in negotiations without an agent, opting to skip Ravens' offseason workouts and training camp and only report to practice in the week prior to the regular season.
"Sure, he'll be behind, but it's still just football," Monken told reporters. "Sometimes we make this out to be way too much. We'll cater to what he knows and play."
Monken was speaking at his introductory press conference, having only been appointed to the role last week replacing Greg Roman.
The new offensive coordinator would naturally need time to build rapport with Jackson, which that hypothetical scenario would not afford him.
"I mean it's like any player, the more time you spend with them, the more comfortable they get with any system," Monken said. "That's more relationship, and that's part of it.
"There's a big part of that relationship from a quarterback, coordinator, playcaller, position coach where they're comfortable and there's a trust. And that's built over time."
Jackson's past two seasons have ended prematurely due to injuries, with the Ravens missing the playoffs in 2021 following a late slump, while they lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round in 2022.
The Ravens QB threw a career-best 36 touchdowns with a 66.1 per cent completion rate in his MVP-winning 2019 season from 15 starts, but only managed 16 and 17 TDs from 12 and 12 starts in his past two seasons respectively.
"He's got an elite skill set," Monken said. "I think he's underrated as a passer in terms of his ability to make plays and throw it down the field."