Luke Jones takes a deep dive with Dennis Koulatsos on what might be next for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in this mysterious contract tug-of-war as the non-exclusive franchise tag sits on the former MVP quarterback who refuses to hire a professional agent.
ravens, lamar jackson, point, deal, draft, lamar, year, players, standpoint, quarterback, first round pick, trade, baltimore, play, position, team, offer, cap, terms, talking
Luke Jones, Dennis Koulatsos
Dennis Koulatsos 00:02
All right, welcome back leading off our show, as always, is a great Luke Jones. Oh, he’s doing great things for our community, his community up there in Pennsylvania and globally worldwide and he’s traveling all over the globe. He’s the globe trotting Deacon Luke Jones.
Luke Jones 00:18
Welcome in tennis. How are you, my friend? It’s good. Good to talk to you.
Dennis Koulatsos 00:23
Good to talk to you. I think that Lamar Jackson should reach out to Orlando brand juniors as agent and himself a contract. That’s what I think that’s what I think today.
Luke Jones 00:34
Although I would say this much. Orlando Brown did not play the market. And right. I mean, when you hear what Kansas City was offering, even going back to what last year, I guess, yeah. And what he ends up getting with the Bengals and look, yeah, he gets to stay at left tackle. I mean, that’s something that’s been very, very much a thing for him. He’s been very passionate about wanting to play left tackle. And I think and that’s what was interesting about the start of this free agency was even I was watching Adam Schefter on ESPN saying what many people with the Ravens thought that they think he’s a better right tackle than left tackle. doesn’t mean he’s bad at left tackle. But I think what, what’s the bad news here for the Ravens is Cincinnati got him probably at a much more appropriate value for what his skill level is at left tackle, which he’s not a great left tackle, but he’s certainly good. Yeah, he’s good. And certainly a big upgrade over Jonah Williams, their previous left tackle who I assume they’ll probably move him to the right side now. You know, maybe they’ll cut Lyle Collins, I’m not sure what they’ll do. But that the end result is Orlando Brown Jr. Back in the AFC north. And an upgrade for that Cincinnati offensive line, which you look at the Bengals and we’re talking about the Bengals because let’s face it, there hasn’t been a whole lot to talk about with the Ravens. We’ll get to Lamar in a moment. But in terms of player movement, not a whole lot to write home about other than a couple guys leaving at this point that were expected. But you know, it’s a case where in the AFC north, the Bengals have lost a number of players specifically, they’re, I think the big loss for them, their two safeties, Vaughn Bell, and, of course, Jesse Bates, who played on the tag last year, but the Bengals do get an upgrade for their offensive line and a pretty significant one, considering how low that bar had been. So Orlando Brown, not bad for him from a football standpoint, I mean, contract complaints aside, he protected Lamar Jackson, and then Patrick mahomes. And now he’ll protect Joe burrow. So that’s pretty good. I mean, if you can’t find too many Offensive Tackles, who’ve been in the league, what, five years and they’ve protected. One surefire Hall of Famer and Patrick mahomes. Lamar Jackson’s a former MVP, regardless of how the rest of his career plays out, and whether Lamar will be in the Hall of Fame conversation, and Joe burrow who has is right up there among the top three or four quarterbacks in the NFL at this point. So pretty good for him on that part. But it’ll be interesting, at the very least, to see Orlando brown back in the AFC north.
Dennis Koulatsos 03:13
Yeah, he got himself some good guaranteed money, though, at least for the first two years. So he did play that piece of it very well, given the disastrous combine the hat and him dropping in the draft, and I believe I’d read it, no offensive lineman better ran as slow as he did ever really made it in the NFL. So give him a credit for working hard and put himself in that position.
Luke Jones 03:33
Oh, no question. And again, I mean, it’s a case of people can scoff at the Pro Bowls that he has and say, Okay, well, if you look at this pff grade and look at this metric, and look at that metric, he’s not an elite left tackle when I would agree with that. But yeah, I mean, this guy has done very well for himself. And considering what you just mentioned, I was there covering that combine that was so disastrous for him. And knowing that he kind of went from being what people thought would be a first round pick to and ended up being a third round pick of course of the ravens and for him to do what he has done at this point. And again, say what you want about the contract, you know, the average annual value certainly is not what people would have projected and you can question his choice as far as agent. I know he switched agents along the way and but he I will say and I’m glad you pointed it out. He did get a pretty, pretty good guarantee as far as the first couple years of the deal and then see how it plays out. But again, long story short, the Bengals get a an upgrade to their offensive line. And certainly that’s not something Ravens fans are gonna be happy about. But it’ll be interesting to see him back in the division nonetheless.
Dennis Koulatsos 04:42
For sure. Ravens moves running back Justice Hill. Resigned for a couple of years anyway. Great special teams player showed some pop last year before he got hurt. Thoughts on on justice Hilsa contract
Luke Jones 04:59
Yeah, I’m glad you asked me this tennis. I struggle with this because I actually liked Justice Hill. And I think there were even some times last year where I thought he could have been a little more involved, especially when the Ravens were kind of still waiting on JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards. And, you know, he showed some explosiveness. He’s a very good special teams player, you know, we’ve seen him make an impact as a gunner. But where I struggle with a deal like this, this is the kind of contract that when you look at it, you say, well, it’s only a couple million dollars. I think this is the kind of contract in general, and this is not a bad a slight Justice Hill. But he is your number three running back, right? I mean, we would all agree with that. He’s a special teams player. He is someone who, you know, even putting aside the Achilles injury in 2021, he’s had some other nagging injuries and times where he’s missed some time. When you’re up tight against the salary cap, or, you know, even when you’re not, when you’re just about this in a more general roster, building roster building philosophy, you know, I’m looking at it from that standpoint. I think the Ravens the times, and you and I’ve talked about this, at times, I think they get into a pattern of having too many of these guys that are on two to 3 million per year kind of deals. And it’s, you know, any single player in isolation, it’s fine. Again, I’m not going to sit here and write a full column on, you know, getting to resigning, Justice Hill was this terrible move. But it does add up, when you have a bunch of players that are kind of in that pay grade, you know, no longer on a rookie deal, but certainly not guys that are moving the needle, if you have too many of them starts to add up. And then what happens, you’re up a little bit tighter against the cap, and you don’t really have that flexibility to go get that difference maker that we’ve talked about that different times wide receiver being an example. And I’m not saying that right here in the now I mean that in a big picture sense. So from that standpoint, I kind of look at where they are, with their salary cap, knowing that they’re really in this holding pattern. You know, some people have gone as far as saying Lamar Jackson’s holding them hostage, which, you know, the imagery, I don’t I don’t want to go there. But it’s certainly it’s kept them in a position where they need to maintain as much cap flexibility as they can not knowing if the Indianapolis Colts, for example, who to me look like maybe the only candidate at this point to really, potentially make a serious run at signing him to an offer sheet. But just in a big picture sense. This Justice Hill deal, which, you know, it’s reported two years, 4.5 million, not a lot of guaranteed money there, you probably could move on from him at the end of the preseason. Although, you know, I saw one report that said he’s, you know, a little over a million dollars guaranteed, you know, that’s, that’s, you know, this isn’t a flat, non guaranteed deal where you can just cut them and there’s no consequence. So, you know, again, I don’t want to pile on, it’s not about Justice Hill. But when you have players to kind of fit that category, and you have too many of them. And we know the Ravens have valued special teams, we know they value depth, I get that I fully understand that. But it does add up. And if you have too many players like that, it does cost you some other opportunities down the line. So you know, that’s kind of my, that’s my that’s kind of my 500 word summary, whatever you want to call it. As far as that just from a philosophical standpoint, I looked at some of the restricted free agents that they did not tender. And I look at someone like Gino stone, and maybe it came down to maybe the Ravens had a similar offer to Gino stone on the table. And he said, No, I want to look around and maybe find another place where I could start. And Justice Hill said yes. Because while he’s a number three running back into special teams players. So you know, from that standpoint, you know, I certainly didn’t love the deal. I’m not gonna sit here and say that shorts the worst thing ever, because you know, it’s not as though there’s a ton of, of real money pumped into it. But those are the kinds of deals that over the years, especially now when we’re talking about regardless of what happens with Lamar, assuming he’s here in 2023, he’s either going to be on the tag, which is still below market, but but more substantial than any other player on your roster, or he’s going to be on a long term deal, which is going to be a much different cap consequence over the next several years. That’s where you look at a deal like this and say, Okay, it’s a couple million dollars. No, not a big deal. But these are the kinds of deals that I think you gotta be careful with. And I’d say this from a long term planning standpoint, JK Dobbins final year of his rookie deal, Gus Edwards, who they did renegotiate and restructure his deal took a little bit of a pay cut. He’s in the final year of his deal. So the cap number is better. But you look at this, from a long term planning standpoint, I would still say still be looking at the draft to be taking a running back on day three. So you know, from that standpoint, if you do that, then you have four running backs and you know that there’s still a deep a pretty decent amount of money pumped into the position and not a whole lot of long term security with that method. So you know, it’s fine It was kind of a roundabout way to say the deal was fine. But I’m certainly not going to sit here and say that I thought it was the best use of their resources given where they are right now with their cap, but it’s not a whole lot else they can really do. To be totally honest with you until they have a better feel for what Lamar is market is going to be as far as that offer sheet. Territory goes,
Dennis Koulatsos 10:20
Yeah, I was gonna go to Geno Smith next, but you address that. For us. The being a draft, Nick and fellow draft, Nick, of course, I’m looking at the draft to bring in the running back for the reasons you just stated. Sean Tucker, I love about us at Syracuse, but I love him in the third round. Kenny McIntosh. Is there, of course the tie in with with Todd Monken from Georgia. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to
Luke Jones 10:44
say they’re a good receiver too. And that’s something they haven’t had. Correct. So
Dennis Koulatsos 10:47
I don’t I don’t think that that’s a stretch to see. Either one of those two players or someone else perhaps running back. I’ll be very surprised to ravens don’t draft running back this year.
Luke Jones 10:58
Yeah, exactly. I’m kind of on the same wavelength. As you with that thinking. That’s why I was just a little surprised. I didn’t think Justice it would be back. I mean, I just didn’t. But
Dennis Koulatsos 11:09
he’s a good pass blocker in a good spot. I mean, he checks enough boxes, but like you, I think the cost was, was a little bit too much for what he brings to the table.
Luke Jones 11:19
Yeah, I mean, it’s just in an in a vacuum. It’s not like it was this massive overpay, but they’re just so limited in what they can do right now. So so that’s where you just have to look at the opportunity cost. I mean, you have very limited dollars, then look, the reality is, you know, it’s not as though that money is bringing back Marcus Peters right there. But at the same time, you kind of look at it and say, Okay, you gotta be careful with those types of deals. I think at times the ravens, I thought during the Joe Flacco era, there were times where there are too many guys that were making two or $3 million on their roster. And when you’re talking about being in that upper class, tax bracket, so to speak for a quarterback like they are approaching, we assume now if they trade Lamar, then or Lamar is not here, then yeah, they got plenty of clap, Cap flexibility, but you just don’t know that right now. So that’s where I was just a little surprised by but we also need to remember, the ravens are who they are, from a philosophy, philosophical standpoint, or that they love special teams, they love depth, Justice Hills up a really good special teams player. And maybe the other factor that we should consider here in fairness is you do have a new offensive coordinator, Justice Hill, while he hasn’t caught a ton of passes as a third down back, maybe that’s something that they feel that Todd Monken can feature a little bit more. So we’ll see how it plays out. But again, you know, I don’t want to spend too much time belaboring the point. But it’s just one of those deals where it’s a little surprise, I did not have the players that they were going to resign. I did not have Justice Hill as one of the more likely ones, given some of the factors that we just mentioned.
Dennis Koulatsos 12:58
All right. I was just looking up Patrick quienes Twitter account the Nesta normally we review these players all the time that things have changed since 2030 years ago, players now have a voice they communicate differently, right. So Patrick cranes posting pictures of himself fishing catching bass, which is something that I love to do in my spare time. But that’s kind of a little bit under the radar. I know he was going back and forth with with with a couple of fans in terms of they didn’t know what they were talking about what they were looking at how to play football, etc. His position. But it’s been it’s been very quiet with with Patrick Queen and the Ravens, hasn’t it?
Luke Jones 13:34
Yeah, it has been and I mean, there are two ways of looking at that one. I mean, he’s under contract for one more year, even before he talks about his fifth year option. So from that standpoint, there’s nothing really to talk about, if we’re just going to take it at face value. But I think from the moment the Ravens struck the long term deal with ro Quan Smith at the end of last season, I think it was pretty evident. I mean, again, this conversation changes if Lamar Jackson is not here in 2023 and beyond. And you know, you’re talking about drafting a quarterback and you know, if Anthony Richardson’s your quarterback or whatever you’re doing, wait until next year to draft someone next year, whatever, obviously the economics change but as it stands, if we’re working under the assumption that it’s Lamar Jackson, or even just from a from a roster building standpoint, Patrick was not going to get row Quan Smith money but you know, based on how he played in his third season and the very legitimate step forward that he took after being so up and down his first couple years, you know, he’s gonna get a nice contract. There’s no question about that. So that’s where you look at it from a positional value standpoint. I mean, have the Ravens ever really paid two inside linebackers at the same time? You know, Bart Scott got okay money, you know, while while he was playing next to Ray Lewis, but it got to the point where it was time for him to really get paid as a pro bowl caliber inside linebacker. He was off to the jet Right. I mean, Ed Hartwell didn’t get paid. You know, I mean, you kind of look at all these different times, you know, where someone was playing next to Ray Lewis. It’s not as though they paid Ray Lewis, and then they paid another guy. So I think you just look at it in terms of, can you really afford to pump that much into the inside linebacker position? I think the answer is no. So that’s where you look at this thing. And I thought this right away from the time really from the time that they acquired ro Quan Smith, working under the assumption that they would try their hardest to work something out with him long term. That to me felt like a time where, you know, Patrick, queen, does he get the marquis brown treatment in terms of we know Marquis brown requested a trade and I’m not even saying Queen definitively wants out. But I think he sees what everyone else sees his agent will see what everyone else sees. They’re not going to pay two inside linebackers. So do you? Do you wait this out? And you keep maintain that position as one of your biggest strengths now, which if you do that, fine. But if you want to maximize the long term value of an asset, then I think that’s where you do look to potentially trade Patrick Queen this offseason, understanding that he’s got the fourth year and then obviously a team could use the fifth your option just like the Cardinals did with Marquis Brown. But unlike wide receiver, how much value are you getting for an inside linebacker? I mean, we just said he’s no he’s becoming a, a much improved better. Good inside linebacker, but he’s not row Quan Smith. So and we saw what the Ravens had to give up for row Quan Smith. It’s not as though it was a first round pick even even for him, I’ll be at that was a rental but they’re not getting a first round pick for Patrick queen is my point. So what is what’s the reality of his value? Can you potentially package him? And I don’t know, a later draft pick to get a I don’t know if a day to pick, you know that that that might be ambitious? Maybe maybe it will be a swap of picks? Or, you know, some swap of combination of picks. But yeah, I think that’s an interesting name. Again, it’s been quiet, but I don’t think there’s any, you know, again, there’s no action to take. He’s under contract, and even his fifth year option you have until I think it’s made to apply that I think I fully expect them to do that. But I do think because of what we just said, going back to the Justice Hill part of this conversation, you have limited resources, you have five draft picks, you know, it’s not a whole lot that they can do right now, in terms of signing players without doing a bunch of restructuring, or making some trades to try to acquire some more picks whether that’s trading down or whether that’s trading player like a Patrick queen, so think it’d be interesting to see how it plays out. You know, at the same time, if you trade him, you know, who else do you have it inside linebacker right now, I mean, I think at this point, Malik Harrison, he might be a better Sam backer than you know, then you know, a guy that you’re putting it inside linebacker who’s only going to be a one or two down, first down second down player so you know that maybe maybe maybe the answer is you do trade Patrick queen and you take an inside linebacker on day three, something like that, and, and try to develop that guy maybe there’s a you know, a veteran LJ Ford esque kind of player, I’m not saying LJ Ford specifically, but a guy like that, you know, that you bring in, you know, a Josh Bynes type that is younger than Josh Bynes, you know, a Josh Bynes type that’s five years younger, that, you know, it’s kind of a fringe starting player, but a guy that a veteran player, you could bring in and plug in next to row Quan. Because the reality is, when you look at how they want to play, I mean, they’re gonna play. I mean, every team plays more nickel than bass now, just about and even the Ravens at times that have played more time than anything else, depending on what their personnel has been. So, you know, from that standpoint, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. So, again, I wouldn’t read too much into being quiet on that front. But it’s, I think the best word for you know, where the Ravens stand with Patrick queen right now is just, it’s kind of awkward knowing that I’d be shocked if you’re giving him a long term contract. I don’t even know what would have to happen for for that to be on the table again, unless maybe you’re having a rookie quarterback, but even then, that’s just not a position you want to pump that much money into, because it’s an opportunity cost, right? You pay him then you’re not able to, to upgrade or pay someone else at another position. So ultimately, I think Patrick quienes time here is limited. It’s short, but it doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed that he’s going to be traded this, you know, this offseason and we’re not going to see him in 2023 in Baltimore.
Dennis Koulatsos 19:47
Alright, look, let’s take a quick look at the secondary now with Geno Smith being released and of course there’s a chance he’s going to come back I’m sure they would love to sign him depending on what What happens with the market out there for him but the Ravens did sign out Trayvon Mullen hit two year starter at Clemson second round draft pick by the Raiders just a thought a Mullen and a raven secondary in general. Yeah,
Luke Jones 20:12
I mean, Gino stone is certainly someone they’d like to bring back. You know, I think there’s I think the doors still open there. I think if you look at how the Ravens have typically proceeded with restricted free agents, and yeah, this is kind of a unique year because think back to the COVID year 2020. So many players who may have only played a couple games that season, they got credit for, you know, invested season because of the COVID rules being what they were and all the roster flexibility that was needed for obvious reasons. So you have more restricted free agents than you typically have seen here in recent years. But it wasn’t surprising that Tyler Huntley was the only one to be tendered. In fact, I had heard even a couple of days before the start of the new league year. That is possible. Tyler Huntley wasn’t even going to be tendered. And then there was a report that the Ravens were at least kicking the tires on some other veteran options out there that ultimately signed elsewhere. But I think you look at the state of their secondary right now. Obviously, you feel great about Marlon Humphrey, you have some young corners on the roster, whether you’re talking about Brandon Stevens, Jalen armour, Davis to Marion Williams, the two that they drafted in the fourth round last year. You know, what, how comfortable are you with those guys? You know, are any of those guys ready to step into a starting role? You know, that’s, that’s where it’s kind of tough. Then you look at safety, which was this position that was just loaded from a depth standpoint. And now you look at it, Chuck Clark officially traded to the Jets, as expected, but no one was anticipating Chuck Clark being back and with Gino stone now being a free agent, if you don’t bring him back, then okay, you feel good about your starters. Right? You got Marcus Williams got Kyle Hamilton, but the Ravens have been a team that’s liked to use some of those three safety looks over the last few years we’ve seen them use that quite frequently. Or who’s your nickel corner going to be if Kyle Hamilton’s you know, moving into more of a conventional safety roles, so it is a little it’s a little unsettling is the right word. But it’s it’s in flux right now as far as what they want to do there. I mean, it was interesting to see on Wednesday when all the reports earlier in the in the day we’re talking about the Eagles releasing Darius slay and then Marlon Humphrey tweet something slay gives you that. You see players put this eyeball emoji out there all the time. Yeah, has been so played out at this point. Because who the heck even knows what it means but ultimately, ultimately slay it looks like compromise worked out that he’s gonna stay in Philadelphia. But, you know, where’s where are they with Marcus Peters, you know, is Marcus Peters someone that they I think they’d like to bring back if it’s, you know, a reasonable, you know, low risk kind of deal understanding where he is now, at this point, you know, he’ll be another year removed from the knee injury, but he is on the wrong side of 30. And, and all that. So, yeah, there’s definitely, definitely some depth concerns, some depth pieces that they need to add. You mentioned Trayvon Mullen, I mean, I’ll be honest, Dennis, I mean, now he’s a former second round pick. And, look, there have been guys that the Ravens have brought in that didn’t really work elsewhere, and they’ve turned into a nice contributor. But I’d be lying to you if I said I had high expectations for Marlin at this point. I mean, this guy’s been been with a couple teams. It was cast aside. I mean, he was waved in January. I mean, that’s, you know, guys that kind of fit that description. I mean, you’re talking about a fringe roster, guys. So who have a chance to compete for a roster spot? Certainly, if you tell me right now, if you can look into a purple crystal ball and say, Trayvon Mullins on their 53 man roster, I’ll say, Okay, fine, good. That means he probably had a good spring and summer, but I could just as easily see him being cut at the end of the preseason and not being on this team. So, so they definitely have some work there. And we, you know, we’ve talked about the draft, and we’ll continue to talk about the draft as we get closer and closer to late April. But that’s why you look at that first round pick and wide receiver corner, one of those two, right? I mean, it feels barring something unforeseen, feels like that’s a good bad. I mean, even if the Ravens signed Marcus Peters, it could still be a corner they drafted in the first round. I mean, that’s just where they are right now, at the position when you have Marlon Humphrey and a bunch of young guys that are kind of, you’re kind of still figuring out where exactly they fall, are they? Are they future starters? Are they subpackage contributors? Or are they more your backups just to be to be plain and simple about it? So be interesting to see how they play out but they’re definitely in a position where, how many years on paper not talking about the years where the injuries have piled up because we know that that’s been a big theme for them too, in the secondary, but it’s been quite rare to talk about the Ravens secondary and see it look as light as it does right now on paper, beyond those three starters, I mentioned Humphrey and your two starting safeties, Hamilton and Marcus Williams. After that, it’s kind of like, okay, I think Brandon Stevens is, at the very least a good depth. Nice. But beyond that, I mean, they’ve been seen enough from the Marion Williams or Jalen armour Davis last year to pencil them in to say, oh, yeah, they’re gonna play in the nickel. I mean, if they can win a job like that, then great, but they still have a lot to prove. And I’d also throw another name out there, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Ravens bring back Kyle Fuller, at some point this offseason, I don’t think that’s going to be an imminent signing, I think that’s going to be, you know, probably, after the draft kind of a deal. And not going to be for much money considering he’s coming off of an ACL. But one thing that was interesting about him, and we know, he’s a Baltimore kid, you know, so, you know, it was so unfortunate to see him get hurt, didn’t even get to play a regular season game in Baltimore, as a raven, as he got hurt in week one. But he was actually someone that he was in the facility from time to time, saw him even late in the season and Owings Mills, at his locker, even though he’s on IR and typically, veteran players who have a season ending injury, that oftentimes in season, they kind of go away. I mean, that’s just, you know, it’s not to say that they’re not, you know, rehabbing hard. But typically, it’s tough for those veteran types to be around the team when they’ve suffered a season ending injury. And they’re just, yeah, they’re not part of it. I mean, they’re just not I mean, it’s not as though their teammates don’t like them, or the coaches don’t like them. But they kind of feel like they’re an outcast at that point in time. They’re kind of on the outside looking in. But Kyle Fuller, it was interesting to see him being around the facility late last season, was that a towel? Maybe that there could be some interest, some mutual interest in bringing him back? But even then, what’s he going to look like physically, again, he might fit more into that Trayvon Mullen territory, were just talking about a guy that’s going to try to make the team so they definitely have some work to do on their secondary, there’s no question about that. And, yeah, your overall assessment on Geno stone, I feel the same, I think you’d like to be able to keep him and bring him back. But just gonna have to see what the money looks like and see, you know, what is he more interested in in terms of going somewhere else and maybe having a, an easier path to a starting job, which, you know, you can understand from a former seventh round pick who hasn’t made any money in the NFL yet?
Dennis Koulatsos 27:29
Well, I think that if things stay static with our quarterback situation, then on day one of the NFL Draft, either Todd Monken is gonna be very happy, or Mike McDonald, one or the other, we could debate all day long, will they need a corner as a corner going to going to make more of a difference? Versus a wide receiver, given the fact that they’re going to be rookies and different stages of development? And also, can they make how quickly can they make the leap from the collegiate level to the NFL?
Luke Jones 28:00
Yeah, that’s the big question, really, for any player at any position, right. But certainly look at where the Ravens stand at wide receiver and that corner, you know, that that first round pick, and again, they could they could trade back, you know, they could trade back to the end of the first round, and try to pick up, you know, a day to pick, you know, something along those lines. So you don’t really know, but certainly you look at those two positions, they’ve got a, there’s got to be a very legitimate addition made at both of those positions. You know, we can, we can debate and talk about adding other depth pieces, which you’ll need. But certainly you look at those positions right now, more than any other positions, you know, even left guard, I mean, Ben powers, you know, God bless him got a great contract in Denver. Good for him. You know, the Ravens were never going to touch that. I mean, I figured get somewhere in the neighborhood of eight to 10 million average annual value ended up exceeding that so great for him. But now you look at that, and you say, All right, then Cleveland, third year, former third round pick, it’s time to go. Yeah, you need you need to. So I think even someone like Kim, it’s, you know, you look at that position. And I’m sure they’ll sure they’ll draft and I’m not sure. I’m pretty confident that they’ll try to draft an offensive lineman at some point in April, but to where you look at some of these guys, you know, that’s where it’s been frustrating, you know, even Ben powers, it took him a couple years to figure it out. You’d like to be able to hit on some of these mid round offensive linemen and you know, have have guys be a little, you know, a little more ready to play sooner than they have been. But it’s tough and we’ve talked about so much spread and so many of these offensive linemen out there. They’re playing in systems in college where they’re not getting into a three point stance and so much spread and some of them aren’t even run blocking that much because it’s just, you know, it’s all about Go Go Go tempo, and you know, it’s not really your traditional play in the trenches. So yeah, these are challenges that not just the ravens, but any team faces in terms of finding quality offensive lineman, but But yeah, you keep coming back to those two premium position needs that they have at wide receiver and corner and we’ll see how it plays out. That’s not even to say they won’t be able to make an a veteran impact addition at some point, but again, where they stand right now with the law and this contract that, you know, you and I haven’t gotten into a too much in this conversation, but it’s the blood, it’s the dark cloud that’s just hanging over the entire organization right now. Because you have to maintain as much flexibility as possible. You know, it’s
Dennis Koulatsos 30:34
well, let me ask you a question. Look, if if, let’s say he does get traded to the Ravens reclaim that $32 million in cap space?
Luke Jones 30:42
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that comes off the books, I mean, that that would whatever, you know, it’s not as though it’s a signing bonus, where there would be like a prorated amount that would accelerate against the cap. So yeah, it would be you know, it would be a very clean break from a salary cap standpoint, in terms of you know, if you traded Lamar Jackson but but then it’s just a matter of, oh, now you need to replace them, no problem quarterback,
Dennis Koulatsos 31:07
you’ll get graphics, you’ll get whatever, you will get capital, but you need a quarterback and Baker Mayfield of course sign with the Buccaneers right? Everybody getting signed everywhere. So the the well is starting to dry up, isn’t it?
Luke Jones 31:20
Yeah. And that’s, I mean that. And that’s where Nestor and I have just gone back and forth on this so much. And look, I mean, I’m not even going to say that the, you know, I think the Ravens would entertain, you know, if the right team. And this was more of a conversation piece before we knew which tag but, you know, I think the Ravens absolutely would have entertained trade offers, it’s probably still would, you know, if it’s the right offer, it’s why I think Indianapolis is interesting right now, from the standpoint of, yes, it’s only two first round picks. But in terms of value, the fourth overall pick that has the value of Yeah, and I saw someone on Twitter, say this, I don’t know, I don’t have the exact you know, the draft point, you know, pick chart that tells you how many points each, but you know, what I’m talking about as a drag
Dennis Koulatsos 32:10
on a Jimmie Johnson value. I value Yeah, the
Luke Jones 32:15
fourth overall pick would have the value of like the 19th in like the 20 Something pick together I mean, so really from that standpoint, if you’re getting to first round picks from Indianapolis hypothetically fourth overall and then whatever it is next year, what you would assume with Lamar Jackson at the very least they’re going to be pretty good you know, so you’re not certainly not going to anticipate to be another top 10 pick but you know that fourth overall pick you can you can draft you know one of these quarterbacks if you love these guys. So, from that stamp, particularly if the coin of a loved
Dennis Koulatsos 32:46
one of these four guys, right, then they wouldn’t be more apt to make the pic when you have the goof down in DC. Anything happened with him? So again, it’s not over until it’s over.
Luke Jones 32:56
Yeah, it’s not over until it’s over. Although I would say with the cult or with the commanders what they signed Jacoby perset you know, they have him that they have the young guy. Yes, yeah. Right. Yeah.
Dennis Koulatsos 33:10
And also this this goof up there with the in from Green Bay. Yeah, currently with Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers has dance. He all of a sudden, turns double heel and double cross. Someone says, Look, I’m going to stay in Green Bay. Now Joe Douglas and Robert Sally, they need a quarterback all of a sudden, and they’re not going to they’re not going to win without one. So all of a sudden desperation sets in. They have to they have jobs to say Lamar Jackson’s back into play for the Jets.
Luke Jones 33:37
Potentially. I’m glad you brought that up, because you will appreciate this analogy that I thought of because I actually tuned in to the Pat McAfee show and watch that whole thing. Wednesday, but you’re a wrestling guy. So humor me for a moment if you can think back to 2001 when Vince McMahon went on Monday Night Raw, he was famously buying WCW right? And he was going through this long monologue about all the guys he was going to fire from WCW. And he put Eric fish off out of business and all these different things. And lo and behold, what happened? Shane McMahon showed up on the final episode of nitro and he bought WCW. Of course, it was all part of the storyline. But all I was thinking as Aaron Rodgers is going on this little monologue, and it’s just, it’s like, does this have a point get to the point, man, all I was thinking was, all of a sudden you see a zoom window pop up, and Joe Douglas is sitting there with Lamar Jackson and he signed on to an offer sheet. And I was like, Okay, I’m not gonna put this out on Twitter because Ravens fans will think I’m just being a total heel here. I thought of how funny that would be. And it just like, oh, man, I gotta break this up the dentists. We talk the following day. So
Dennis Koulatsos 34:51
yeah, it’s on the table look, rightfully so it’s on the table everything.
Luke Jones 34:57
It is. I will say this much though. You do have to look at it from a practical standpoint, from a cap standpoint, in the same way, we’re talking about how the Ravens haven’t been able to do a whole lot right now. These teams have to have the cap space to sign them or to an offer sheet. And we know Lamar wants either a fully guaranteed deal, or a long term deal that has so much fully guaranteed money in it, that it’s going to trump anything that’s not a Deshaun Watson contract offer that we’ve seen over the last several years. So from that standpoint, that is where you probably can eliminate a lot of teams, you know, in terms of what’s the cap look like? What have they done in terms of quarterbacks? I mean, certainly now you look at Carolina, they’re out of you know, they don’t trade up the number one, if they’re suddenly trying to sign Lamar Jackson. Yeah, they obviously they’re drafting a quarterback. So process of elimination. You’re right. Could there be a weird scenario? Could a team redo an extraordinary number of deals and do full guarantees and use void years and all these different things to get Lamar Jackson? They could, but then what’s that future going to look like with him? Because if you’ve done all that stuff, just to sign him? Oh, my goodness. I mean, we’re already seeing I mean, Cleveland’s already, you know, year, two of Deshaun, Watson’s deal they had, you know, I’ve already had to restructure, and you’ll look at the future cap numbers. So that’s where I do look at this thing. And if you’re asking me to be realistic understanding that yeah, there could be that, that outlaw wildcard team that just completely goes against the grain. Looking at it pragmatically. Right now, it that’s where it does feel like Indianapolis is kind of the team that you point to because they traded Stephon Gilmore that cleared think about 10 million the cap space, they released Matt Ryan, which was expected all along, but that cleared another 17 million in cap space, they are in a position where I don’t know if they can structure the deal. You know, where it has this crazy year one number that the Ravens would have a very difficult time matching, but they are in a position cap wise, where if they want to fully guarantee a deal, and do what Cleveland did, then, yeah, they could do that. And then that puts deep Ashanti to a very interesting decision. Because, you know, and I’m not talking about this solely from a narrative standpoint, but it is that team in Indianapolis, it is an earth say, and it steep a shot at being a local guy, a guy who famously went to Baltimore Colts training camp and live the pain of so many Baltimoreans, who lost the Colts on that March of 1984. And all the scars that still exists to this day for that older generation. If it comes to it, and the Indianapolis Colts signed Lamar Jackson to a fully guaranteed offer sheet of five years, let’s say, five or six years somewhere in that neighborhood, which feels like that’s the sweet spot that Lamar has been after. Based on what we know not knowing 100%, of course. But if you’re Steve, a shoddy, are you really going to stand firm? And say, Nope, we’re not doing a fully guaranteed deal? Nope, we’re not doing that. And then Indianapolis steals a franchise quarterback from Baltimore. I mean, 40 years after stealing its team. Yeah, that’s tough. I mean, that’s tough. But, you know, as as, as we’re laying out all the scenarios of teams that could potentially do something like that, it’s feeling more and more like Indianapolis is kind of the last team standing. Because the point is, even though you could say Atlanta, or you could say Washington, everything they’re doing from a roster building standpoint, and the money that they’ve spent in the three agents that they’ve signed, it just doesn’t, it doesn’t feel like they’re ramping up to do something like that. It feels like we’re gonna go with our young guy. And, you know, we’ve signed a stopgap veteran to compete with that guy, and we’ll try to, you know, we’ll see if our young guy develops and if not, we’ll take a swing next year. You know, it just feels like Indianapolis is that one team that if you’re looking for a team to watch out for, it feels like that’s the team, to me that overwhelmingly looks like it at least there’s some pathway to it. All these other teams, I just look at it and say, they’re not proceeding in a way at all that makes me feel like they’re going to do that with Lamar. So no, we’ll see. And that’s not to say, let’s be clear, Chris Ballard might just be saying, you know, what, we’re gonna take our lumps this year. And, you know, we’ll either draft a quarterback there, or maybe we’ll trade back and take some pics, and maybe we’ll try to get our franchise guy next year, but, you know, so but they’re the team that has kept space and least over the first few days of free and now as you and I are talking, they might be ready to go sign, you know, a bigger ticket number but, you know, bigger ticket item, but it seems right now that they’re kind of the last team that you look at and say all right, there’s at least a chance they could be talking to Lamar Jackson because I just looked at all those other teams that were candidates and I’ve seen some talking heads on ESPN talk about the 40, Niners they don’t have a first round pick. So you know, and I know people have said well, you know a team could wait until after For the draft and, you know, I just don’t think a team is doing that. Like, I just think. I think there’s so much that would have to happen for that kind of a scenario. I just think that that would be so weird for a team to because you would have to sit out everything. You know, you’d have to sit out Yes. All the free agency. So, you know, if it’s gonna happen, I feel like it’s indie. Like, like, I just I truly feel like it’s indie. If it’s going to happen at this.
Dennis Koulatsos 40:25
Do you think it’s a possibility that this even happens with crafter let’s say indie head identified up? They love CJ Stroud, for instance, the Stroud gone by the fourth pick. Do you think there’s a possibility? But then again, same thing with the Ravens if if, if they love a quarterback and the quarterback, they wanted to go on? By the fourth pick, why would they consider making that deal? Yeah,
Luke Jones 40:49
I mean, that’s where it’s tough. I mean, that’s where it really is tough. And that’s where I think you get into, you know, we’ve kind of looked at this strictly from the financial standpoint, but that’s when you do get into. We know the ravens and Lamar Jackson. Even Lamar is tweet earlier this week aside, for the most part, they haven’t talked a lot about this publicly. There haven’t been a ton of leaks, there been some, but not a ton. That’s where you do wonder, okay, where are they just in terms of footing as far as how they feel about each other at this point? And that’s where you start to look into, you know, is it a case where I mean, Dennis, for all we know, keep in mind, the Ravens traded Marquis brown on the first night of the draft last year. There had been some talk earlier, in the offseason, remember that? He unfollowed the Ravens on social media, and there have been a lot. There’s a weird rumor out there that he was going to retire and become an E gamer and, and all this different stuff. But the point was, he requested a trade from the Ravens early that offseason and both sides kept it under wraps. I’m not at all reporting this. I’m not even saying that this is likely. I’m just saying is there a possibility that Lamar Jackson has privately said I kind of like to be traded, I kind of like to move on. Now, that doesn’t mean the Ravens have to accommodate that or even a case where they say, Yes, we will no questions asked. It could be Lamar, we will take that into consideration if the right offer comes around. And is that a possibility? Sure. But like you said, they’re just That’s why I’ve said all along, you know, once it got to a point that they didn’t get a deal done before the start of last season. And everything that’s happened since then throw in the injury stuff at the end of last year. This is just This is a very complicated situation. And it’s complicated for any other team to that. They don’t have the history with Lamar. So but there’s also. And that’s not even to say that the ravens and Lamar even fully trust each other, right? I trust, I’m sure trust would have to be a little bit of a concern. At this point in time, you know, even if the negotiations have been in good faith or pseudo good faith, that’s just tough. When you’ve been at the table that long, and you haven’t been able to work out a deal. There’s got to be some hurt feelings. There’s got to be frustration I that’s only human. So how does that factor into this entire pie? Yeah, this entire discussion as far as what exactly is going to happen, and even talking about trades, or even draft day trades? It’s tough. That’s why I keep looking at this thing. And I don’t know, Dennis, if you asked me to handicap all of this in terms of what the most likely outcomes are. I’m feeling more and more like they could be right back at this position a year from now. And that’s not even that either side wants that. But at the same time, if you’re the ravens, and this is where I’ve pushed back, you know, as far as people that have made assumptions that the ravens are just going to trade him, you can’t trade him for less than what he’s worth, he has to he’s too important, too valuable and asset to just throw your hands up and say, we just need to move on. You know, this isn’t. This isn’t Hayden Hurst you know, this isn’t Orlando Brown, this isn’t Marquis brown. This is a franchise quarterback that, say what you want about where he ranks in the hierarchy. But he’s up there. And he’s a former MVP, and has done some incredible things on the football field. So even if you say, No, we don’t want to give him a fully guaranteed contract. And we’re frustrated. You still have to have the discipline to try to maximize your value for him. If even if you’ve said we think the best play is to move on long term. If that deals not sitting there right now or if that team’s not coming to that other team’s not coming to make an offer sheet that Lamar once and it’s clear we know Lamar wants something that’s not conventional. That’s where you look at this thing and say they might, they might just have to wait this out. And look, that’s not a great dynamic because we’re looking right now and even to this early stage in free agency, while the Ravens have traded away Chuck Clark they’ve released clay As Campbell they’ve lost Ben powers and Josh Oliver those are expected I’m not saying that those are you know, those last couple were major losses necessarily
Dennis Koulatsos 45:08
how about the backup quarterback they’ve they’ve offered right they’ve tendered Tyler Huntley right with a second round that type of a deal.
Luke Jones 45:16
Yeah, well actually wasn’t even the second round tender was the low tender it was a load center
Dennis Koulatsos 45:20
right now are out there.
Luke Jones 45:24
Theoretically both of their quarterbacks could be shot signed to offer sheets. Now of course, Lamar would have the the two first round picks attached to him. Tyler Huntley, it’s strictly a right of first refusal, you have a chance to match that deal. So
Dennis Koulatsos 45:38
out there, and there are teams that can use Tyler handy. Right?
Luke Jones 45:42
Yeah, I mean, it’s just gonna be a metaphor. Right, right. It’s just a matter of when you look at those restricted tenders. And this is why I think the Ravens ultimately decided on the non exclusive for Lamar because it essentially acts in the same way. It’s just, you know, two first round picks attached to it. So many teams are leery of doing the offer sheets, though, because unless it’s really a very impressive mega kind of offer. They get matched a lot of times and so many executives say there’s an opportunity cost to even trying to do this, because of course, I sign them to an offer sheet that counts against my salary cap for up to five days. And if that other team matches, guess what I just did i Oh, I did Eric Costas work for him. So or I did you know, I did less needs work for him, you know, whatever GM you want to throw out there. So you know, that’s where you that’s where you tend to not see too much movement of restricted free agents. But I would also say the fact that the Ravens only put the low tender on Huntley, and didn’t even do the second round. That also shows you that there. Yeah, he could be their backup quarterback this year. But that also tells me that it could end up being a placeholder, depending on how this all shakes out. So we’ll see. I mean, there, there are so many moving parts to this stuff, for sure. It really is. And there’s a lot of nuance to it. And that’s why I’ve been frustrated just seeing you see some of the talking heads on the national shows. And they’re just like, well, this team should go after Lamar Jackson’s like, they don’t have a first round pick, or, well, this team should go up to Lamar Jackson. It’s like they had to make moves just to get under the salary cap, let alone they’re gonna sign an offer sheet that the Ravens aren’t going to match, or they’re going to sign an offer sheet that Lamar Jackson is going to say, Yeah, I’ll sign up for that. It’s just there’s a lot more to this. And oh, yeah, as we’ll mention, again, he doesn’t have an agent. And that makes negotiating complicated. So there’s there are just so many factors that work here. And to be clear, that doesn’t mean that I’m suggesting Lamar Jackson isn’t worth it, even at the end of the day. Sure. But there’s a lot more to it than just playing fantasy football and sitting there and saying, oh, yeah, he would be great. But the San Francisco 40, Niners. Well, guess what, the 40 Niners probably agree with you, but they say how in the world? Are we going to do that? When we don’t have a pick? And you know, we’ve got all these other things that we have to do. So. Again, that’s I’m not saying there couldn’t be that mystery team at some point. But I think you look at it practically speaking, in terms of draft capital, and in terms of where that team stands with the salary cap. And that’s where I keep coming back to feels like Indy is really the only team left standing that makes a whole lot of sense, barring some really strange scenario, which, nope, hey, this whole thing has been strange. So let’s not rule out a strange scenario, but I’m not gonna sit here and try to imagine what that could be.
Dennis Koulatsos 48:39
Yeah, well, a couple of things there give me Ursi has to escrow an awful lot of money and I do think he’s part of the NFL old guard on and I it’s I know it’s it’s there. But I it’s hard to imagine that that’s going to happen. And like you I think we’re going to be in the same position a year from now. Clearly the Ravens have to address the backup quarterback situation in order to have a better chance in the playoffs should Lamar Jackson get hurt once again, which is something they have to guard against.
Luke Jones 49:06
Yeah, the problem with that is, you know, you kind of look at this roster and say, Okay, you’re gonna keep Lamar still want to make some upgrades to your roster, right. They were good last year. They weren’t the best
Dennis Koulatsos 49:18
here come Stetson Bennett.
Luke Jones 49:22
Yeah, we will. We’ll see. So we saw important draft picks
Dennis Koulatsos 49:25
were a year ago and we were reminded once again, when when Brock party was Mr. irrelevant and ends up playing very well. In a starting position for the San Francisco 40. Niners and this is where your scouting department comes in and everything else but Luke as always, I appreciate your time. Please tell our listeners where they can find your social media, Baltimore positive.com and other great stuff that you do on the web as well as your blog.
Luke Jones 49:46
Absolutely. I encourage everyone to follow us on Twitter at wn st can follow me personally at Baltimore Luke as I am monitoring free agency. We are now into the start of the new league year. Not a whole lot going on for the ravens to this point, but I Certainly more to come, there will be some signings. There could be some other players that leave you know, certainly free agents who are free to sign with anyone at this point. Check out my blog at Baltimore positive.com sponsored by coons for to Baltimore. The latest on the Ravens 12 ravens thoughts, reaction to their various moves players, we’ve left all of that. Baltimore positive.com You want to be on the wn St. Baltimore positive texts service sponsored by coons for the Baltimore if you are you’ve gotten updates such as the Ravens parting ways with class Campbell or resigning Justice Hill, we’ll see if there is any Lamar Jackson related news in the coming days. But the wn St. Baltimore positive tech service sponsored by coons for the Baltimore any significant local sports news sent directly to your mobile device. And of course, you want to be on a and are of course, anything on AM 15 Seven, eat with Nestor, any ravens press conferences coming up? Usually there are at least a few between now and draft time. You can check out all of that at Baltimore positive.com.
Dennis Koulatsos 51:03
All right. Look, as always, I appreciate you know, lack of content, lots of moving parts still. Deals are still being made out there as we head towards the NFL Draft.
Luke Jones 51:13
Absolutely. And Lamar Jackson watch continues and we’ll see if there are any new developments when you and I reconvene next week. I can’t wait for that Luke stay well my friend. Thanks Dennis be well
Dennis Koulatsos 51:24
My pleasure. There he goes. Luke Jones here 1570 Am wn st we’ll take a quick break and come back right after this.