The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base has been watching the Baltimore Ravens situation with quarterback Lamar Jackson closely. Most would be fine with the Ravens giving Jackson a hefty, long-term contract considering how Jackson hasn’t had great success vs. Pittsburgh in his career. Another positive, for the Steelers and the rest of the AFC North, is it would put the Ravens in a less-than-stellar salary cap situation for the foreseeable future.
Sunday afternoon the Jackson situation took a strange turn as the Ravens announced they signed Odell Beckham Jr. to a one-year contract with $15 million in guaranteed dollars. Most Steelers fans thought the same thing when they saw the deal was made official...
“Who will be throwing him passes in 2023?”
According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN, Jackson’s social media shows his support for the signing of Beckham, and could be a sign a deal keeping Lamar in Baltimore could be imminent.
From Jackson’s social media, it appears as if he placed his stamp of approval on bringing in Beckham, who represents what Jackson has never had. The Ravens have never had a Pro Bowl receiver since they became a franchise in 1996. The next longest drought belongs to the Carolina Panthers, who haven’t had a Pro Bowl receiver since Steve Smith Sr. in 2011, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Beckham, a three-time Pro Bowl player, is the most established and dynamic wide receiver in Jackson’s five seasons in the NFL.
This isn’t Michael Crabtree in 2018. This isn’t Dez Bryant in 2020 or Sammy Watkins in 2021. And this definitely isn’t Demarcus Robinson and DeSean Jackson from a year ago.
All of these receivers were bargain stopgap pass-catchers. Beckham is the Ravens’ best veteran playmaking wide receiver since Smith in 2016. There are questions about Beckham’s health and his productivity after not playing since tearing the ACL in his left knee 14 months ago. But Beckham was a difference-maker during the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl run, scoring seven touchdowns in his last 11 games. His productivity, however, has tailed off since recording 1,000-yard seasons in five of his first six years. He hasn’t surpassed 600 yards receiving since 2019.
Unless the Ravens have a suitor for Jackson via trade, it looks as if the organization is hoping this signing will lure Jackson into a contract, or at least playing in 2023 on the franchise tag. If Lamar continues his stalemate with the organization, it could equate in Tyler Huntley, not Lamar Jackson, throwing him passes...and as Cleveland Browns fans saw during Beckham’s tenure there, it might not end well.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.