There is a dark cloud hanging over the Baltimore Ravens organization right now in the form of the Lamar Jackson contract saga.
The quarterback and former 2019 regular season MVP has been demanding an outsized contract extension for some time now, and he has received the team’s non-exclusive franchise tag, which will allow him to negotiate a contract freely with other teams.
But Baltimore has other concerns, as it barely made the playoffs in 2022 and has multiple roster weaknesses to address.
Linebacker Patrick Queen has an option for the fifth year on his rookie contract, and the team has to decide by May 1 whether to pick up that option.
Do the Ravens anticipate picking up Patrick Queen’s fifth-year option?
“That’ll be a discussion we’ll have with Patrick,” Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said. “Wouldn’t want to announce anything too premature with all you guys.”
The deadline to exercise the fifth-year option is May 1.
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) April 5, 2023
If the Ravens have a relative strength, it is their defense, particularly their defense against the run.
They finished third in points allowed and ninth in total yards allowed, as well as third in rushing yards allowed last season.
Queen is an emerging young player who was third in the Defensive Rookie of the Year balloting in 2020 and recorded five sacks, 14 quarterback hits, nine tackles for loss, six passes defended and two interceptions in 2022.
Maintaining that strong defense will be a big key in taking the pressure off Jackson, as long as he remains a member of the Ravens, especially since they have an anemic passing attack.
On the other hand, if Jackson does depart, they would receive draft compensation, which could make it easier to decide that Queen is at least somewhat expendable moving forward.
Video Shows How Fast The Lamar Jackson Narrative Changed In Baltimore