John Harbaugh was speaking to reporters Monday just as Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson took to social media and revealed he requested a trade from the organization.
And while Jackson’s announcement shouldn’t come as a huge surprise given he and the Ravens have been at odds about a contract for an extended period of time, his confirmation is not something to overlook. It’s the first concrete sentiment from Jackson’s side of the negotiations.
Harbaugh, however, tried to downplay the situation.
“I haven’t seen the tweet,” Harbaugh told reporters at the NFL’s Annual League Meeting, per NFL.com. “It’s an ongoing process. I’m following it very closely, just like everybody else is here and looking forward to a resolution. I’m excited. Thinking about Lamar all the time. Thinking about him as our quarterback. We’re building our offense around that idea. I’m just looking forward to getting back to football and I’m confident that’s going to happen.”
Harbaugh told reporters he hasn’t spoken with Jackson recently, but still remains optimistic a long-term agreement will be worked out. Jackson seemingly doesn’t feel the same way. The Ravens placed their non-exclusive franchise tag on the 2019 NFL MVP five days after Jackson’s trade request, the specific tag allowing Jackson to communicate with other teams about a contract.
“Like I said, it’s a unique situation, but when we get back together, you know, and I’m really hopeful that happens,” Harbaugh told reporters. “That’s what I want to see. You know, it’s going to be great. It’s going to be good.”
If Jackson receives an offer sheet from another team, Baltimore will have the chance to match that deal. If the Ravens opt not to sign it, Baltimore will receive two first-rounders from Jackson’s new team.
“Lamar is doing a good job in negotiations,” Harbaugh told reporters. “So is Eric (DeCosta). I know where we are at. There is no frustration. I feel OK about this.”
The question remains whether another NFL team is willing to meet Jackson’s contract demands and part with a pair of first-rounders in order to acquire him.