One of the layers in Lamar Jackson's ongoing contract saga is the concern regarding his recent lack of availability on Sunday. Some feel that Jackson missing a combined 10 games over the past two seasons due to injuries could be one of the reasons why the Ravens are hesitant to give him more guaranteed money. This could also be why no team has made Jackson an offer since the Ravens placed the non-exclusive tag on him.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank added to this narrative when asked why Atlanta is not pursuing Jackson despite not having a proven NFL quarterback currently on its roster.
"Different player, different time," Blank said Tuesday, via The Athletic. "You have a winner [in Jackson], a MVP in the league. There's no question he's one of the top quarterbacks in the league.
"Looking at it objectively, I'd say there's some concern over how long can he play his style of game. Hopefully a long time ... but he's missed five, six games each of the last two years. Each game counts a lot in our business."
Jackson clearly heard Blank's comment and decided to respond via social media Tuesday night.
Let’s get real. I rather have a 100% PCL than go out there and play— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) March 29, 2023
horrible forcing myself to put my guys in a bad situation now that’s selfish to me.
"Let's get real. I rather have a 100% PCL than go out there and play horrible forcing myself to put my guys in a bad situation now that's selfish to me," Jackson tweeted.
Jackson drew outside criticism last season when he did not return late in the season while dealing with his PCL injury. Some felt that Jackson was choosing to preserve his body -- and future market value -- over helping his team late in the season. Several teammates came to Jackson's aid amid the criticism.
"He's not healthy," said Jets defensive back Chuck Clark, formerly with the Ravens, via ESPN. "You've seen him barely walking here. You can't force somebody to play."
While Jackson's recent late-season absences are notable, his recent injuries are largely a byproduct of how the Ravens used him during the first five years of his career. Despite being an accomplished passer, the Ravens continued to lean too much on Jackson's running ability. Baltimore has also failed to build a strong offensive line around Jackson in recent seasons, which has only added to the amount hits the former league MVP has endured.
The criticism will surely add more fuel to Jackson's fire while reinforcing the narrative that, despite everything he has accomplished so far, there are still people who are doubting him.