Back to Baltimore?
NFL Roundup: Path for Jackson to Remain with the Ravens, Jalen Carter's Draft Visits, Dalvin Cook's Surgery
While the relationship between Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens seems to have soured, with the 2019 NFL MVP going public with his trade request in recent weeks, there’s still hope for a deal to get done.
Appearing on “The Pat McAfee Show,” NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport said he believes Baltimore remains the most likely home for Jackson in 2023.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) April 3, 2023
The report suggests Jackson’s request is a leverage play for the most money possible rather than a referendum on his remaining time in Baltimore.
With his initial rookie contract expired, Jackson was given the non-exclusive franchise tag for $32.4 million in 2023.
Other NFL teams are currently allowed to negotiate with the 2018 first-round draft pick and former league MVP, but all has been quiet on the trade front.
The positives are obvious for a superstar quarterback like Jackson, who after just 70 career games is fifth place all-time in career rushing yards by a QB (4,437).
After taking over as starting quarterback in the middle of the 2018 season, Jackson soon exploded as one of the top players in the league, leading Baltimore to a winning record every year since and unanimously winning MVP after a 2019 season with 43 total touchdowns and 4,333 total yards gained.
However, the last two seasons have been a tougher ride for the 26-year-old.
Injuries cut his year short in both 2021 and ‘22, scaring certain teams off, and his passing numbers have not elevated in part due to a lack of playmakers at the wide receiver position.
Teams might also be hesitant to hand out a contract that would be among the top guaranteed money in NFL history.
With no apparent bidders at the moment, Baltimore remains the side with the most leverage.
Jalen Carter Visits
As the 2023 NFL draft nears, eyes are on the landing spot for Jalen Carter, one of the top prospects.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Georgia Bulldogs defensive tackle made his second official team visit, this time to a Chicago Bears team that holds the ninth overall pick.
Georgia DT Jalen Carter is visiting the Bears today. It is his second visit, with him already having visited the Eagles. Carter’s agent Drew Rosenhaus said he is declining visit requests for any team drafting outside the top 10 picks. “I’m confident Jalen will go in the top 10,”…
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 3, 2023
This marks Carter’s second official visit after a trip to the Philadelphia to meet the Eagles, who own the number 10 pick in the draft.
For his success on the field in his three seasons at Georgia that culminated in two consecutive National Championships, Carter is considered far-and-away the best interior defensive lineman prospect and was considered at one point a top three pick.
However, in recent weeks, major legal red flags have come into play, putting his draft status into question.
By only accepting visits to teams picking in the top 10, Carter and his agent Drew Rosenhaus are making it known that they do not believe his draft stock will fall too far.
Dalvin Cook ‘Making Progress’
Answers are being provided on the status of Dalvin Cook, one of the biggest question marks for the Minnesota Vikings entering 2023.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Cook, after recently undergoing shoulder surgery, is making “excellent progress” in his recovery.
#Vikings RB Dalvin Cook was recently in Minnesota for a post-surgery checkup on his shoulder and is said to be making excellent progress, per sources. Cook played the last three seasons while protecting the injured shoulder, which is now 100% stable and stronger. pic.twitter.com/2c4Z5VPrdW
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 3, 2023
With Cook’s health expected to be in good shape, now Minnesota has to decide whether they will be able to keep their star running back.
Despite a 13-4 record in 2022, the Vikings are facing a massive cap-related roster turnover, cutting loose two of their longest tenured veterans in WR Adam Thielen and LB Eric Kendricks.
Many are wondering if the 27-year-old Cook could be next to go, especially after the re-signing of capable backup RB Alexander Mattison.
Minnesota has every reason to want to work out a deal with Cook, who has rushed for 1,000 yards and made the Pro Bowl for four consecutive seasons, but it now comes down to financial ability.
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com
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