Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson certainly must be one happy camper now. But he also better be one serious camper from now on.
That’s not to say that Jackson has not been hard working. Or that he has not been serious-minded.
However, the record shows that he has not been able to lead the Ravens to the kind of team outcomes fans have expected since he flashed as a paradigm-altering phenomenon as the NFL MVP in 2019.
Now the pressure – and surely the expectation level of many Maryland sports betting backers – is squarely on Jackson, who missed a handful of crucial games with injuries over the last two seasons. No more excuses or extenuating circumstances will save him from the judgement of fans and media, and maybe, not even from his teammates and the Ravens’ organization at large.
Most Recent Baltimore Ravens Moves
Customers could use the BetMGM bonus code Maryland to get +2500 odds to win the Super Bowl just last week.
But that was before Baltimore’s recent spate of moves, and now those BetMGM odds sit at +1800 as of Monday afternoon.
Over the course of a day on Thursday, the Ravens made Jackson the highest-paid player in the NFL (albeit with less guaranteed money than the baffling Deshawn Watson deal). That night, Baltimore used its top pick in the NFL Draft to bolster what has been a weak wide receiving group.
And that came after the Ravens further bolstered the WR room by signing free agent Odell Beckham Jr., to a healthy deal, which should catch the attention of folks using Maryland betting apps. The Ravens gave millions to Beckham in April, though he’s coming off an injury.
In other words, the Ravens have given Jackson some roster support he has obviously has been lacking and they have shown that they are both grateful for what he’s done for the franchise and that they are confident he will keep doing it.
Lamar Jackson Contract Numbers
The contract extension Jackson got is reportedly for $260 million over five years with $185 million guaranteed. That is slightly better than Eagles QB Jalen Hurts’ five-year deal for $255 million with $179.3 million guaranteed. The difference is, Hurts took his team to the Super Bowl in February and could have been the MVP of the game if Philly’s defense had held off the winning Chiefs in the fourth quarter.
Jackson is sixth at DraftKings Maryland in MVP odds for the 2023 season at +1500, right after Hurts at +1000. Patrick Mahomes, the star quarterback for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, is the slight favorite at +650.
What Ravens Did in 2023 NFL Draft
On Thursday, Baltimore drafted Boston College’s elusive WR Zay Flowers in the first round, No. 22 overall. Flowers is just 5 feet 9 but he has 4.42 speed in the 40, separation quicks, enormous enthusiasm and giant-sized production. Think a slightly smaller version of now-retired, two-time Pro Bowler Emmanuel Sanders.
In the latter rounds over the weekend, the team drafted a pair of offensive linemen. Sixth-round selection Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu is a 6-6, 330-pounder out of Oregon who, according to CBS Sports, likely projects as an interior lineman at the NFL level. He went No. 199 overall. In the seventh round, No. 229 overall, Baltimore took another Pac-12 player, Andrew Vorhees out of USC. He’s listed at almost exactly the same size as Aumavae-Laulu (6-6, 325) and fell down draft boards when he tore a knee ligament before the draft. The organization has said that Vorhees won't play this season, so he'll get a shot to make the roster in 2024.
Baltimore Ravens AFC North Odds
In the past week, Baltimore’s odds at Caesars Sportsbook Maryland to win the AFC North have moved from +300 to +275, and Caesars now has the Ravens at +1200 to win the AFC and reach the Super Bowl.
So, the Ravens have done a fair bit recently for Jackson. And it’s clear head coach John Harbaugh wants to take some of the offensive production pressure off his quarterback by transitioning to more of a traditional passing offense.
However, now the quarterback must not only play like a superstar, but he must exhibit that he can translate his regular-season virtuosity to playoff success.
Jackson’s Playoff Record Lacking
The quarterback that Jackson replaced in Baltimore, Joe Flacco, had been in nine playoff games (5-4) in his first four seasons as a starter and was on the cusp of winning a Super Bowl. After three-and-a-half seasons, Jackson is 1-3 in the playoffs, and his fifth season looms.
Of course, no comparison aligns equal circumstances. For instance, Flacco had the benefit of Hall of Fame defenders Ray Lewis and Ed Reed; they, in turn, were buttressed by Pro Bowl teammates during that era. But still, comparisons will be made measuring quarterback accomplishments – and that will include Jackson’s contemporaries, such as Hurts, Mahomes, Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow.
So yes, Lamar Jackson should have a glow today. But his shoulder pads will begin to feel a little heavier unless the Ravens start making deeper playoff runs, starting with the 2023 season.
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