Addition of “probably” makes Lamar Jackson’s deadline meaningless

Deadlines drive action. Anyone who pays attention to the NFL knows that. But when deadlines aren’t real, they don’t do the trick. And artificial deadlines work only if both sides treat them as real.

For the Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson, there seems to be no real deadline.

“Soon will probably be the deadline,” Jackson said Wednesday. “Probably be cut off after this week.”

Probably. He used the word twice. That means it’s not a real deadline. And how could it be? If the Ravens were to offer next week everything he currently wants, would he say no? Probably not.

The problem is that Jackson is already into football mode. How can he not be? So how can he be carving out meaningful time to hammer out a deal?

Ultimately, it’s a two-part challenge. One, get the team’s best number on the table. Two, engage in an objective, dispassionate assessment of taking the best number vs. rejecting the best number. If Jackson can do that without the involvement of an agent, great. If he can’t, there probably won’t be a new deal — by this Friday or any Friday of the 2022 season.