The Baltimore Ravens got one of their most important defenders back for Monday’s training camp practice, as cornerback Marcus Peters took the field for the first time since tearing his ACL last September.

Peters, who missed the entire 2021 campaign after suffering the injury four days before the season opener, was activated from the physically unable to perform list and took part in individual drills as he gradually makes his way towards being cleared for full practices.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection’s return bodes well for his chances of being ready for Baltimore’s 2022 opener at the New York Jets on September 11.

"[The medical staff] has a plan for that," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday about Peters’ timetable. "Marcus is in a good place. Came back from PUP, did individual today. That was good."

One of the game’s premier ball hawks, Peters has recorded a league-high 31 interceptions since entering the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015. That total is the second highest of any player through his first six seasons among players whose careers began in 2000 or later, behind only former Ravens great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed’s 34 (2002-07).

With Peters unavailable, Baltimore’s defense generated only nine interceptions last season (tied for 26th in the NFL) and allowed a league-high 4,742 net passing yards, a prime reason why the 8-9 Ravens finished with their first losing season since 2015.

A healthy Peters gives Baltimore one of the top cornerback duos in the NFL alongside Marlon Humphrey, a two-time Pro Bowler and a first team All-Pro in 2019.

"It was good to see that he’s improving and making the strides to be ready to go out there and help us compete," defensive lineman Calais Campbell told the Ravens’ official site. "This team is very, very talented, and we just got a whole lot better with him on the field."

The clock is ticking on the amount of time Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have to work out a contract extension for the former league MVP.

The sides have four weeks to come to an agreement after the star quarterback set Week 1 as a deadline to get an extension in place.

Jackson, who is representing himself without an agent, is entering the final year of his rookie contract and set to make just over $23million guaranteed on his fifth-year option in 2022.

"Yeah, we coming up to it. It's coming up. Season's coming up," Jackson said on Saturday. "We're going to be good for the season."

When asked if that meant Week 1 is the deadline, Jackson replied: "Yeah, for sure."

The Ravens open the season September 11 at the New York Jets.

If a deal cannot be reached by the season opener, Jackson would become a free agent in March, though it is still possible the Ravens and 2019 league MVP can confirm a deal after the completion of this season.

Jackson added he had "no updates" on current contract negotiations.

The 32nd overall pick of the 2018 draft, Jackson is coming off an injury-marred 2021 season, averaging 240.2 passing yards and 63.9 yards rushing in 12 games.

He finished with 16 passing touchdowns, a career-high 13 interceptions and an 87.0 QB rating – eighth lowest among the 30 quarterbacks with at least 350 passing attempts last season.

The Ravens lost four of the five games Jackson missed last season and finished 8-9 to miss the playoffs for the first time in his career.

The Baltimore Ravens extended the NFL record for longest preseason winning streak with their 21st consecutive victory Thursday night, 23-10 over the visiting Tennessee Titans. 

No team has ever been better in the preseason than the Ravens. What exactly that means in the grand scheme of things is open to debate.  

Backup Tyler Huntley was 16-for-18 with a touchdown pass and Justin Tucker kicked three field goals for Baltimore, which last season eclipsed the Vince Lombardi-coached Green Bay Packers, who won 19 straight preseason games from 1959-1962. The Ravens last loss an exhibition game on September 3, 2015.  

Baltimore’s streak is in no danger of being matched anytime soon, with the Buffalo Bills owning the second-longest active preseason winning streak at eight in a row.  

With starter Ryan Tannehill getting the night off for the Titans, rookie quarterback Malik Willis played the entire first half and went 6-of-11 for 107 yards while rushing five times for 38 yards and a touchdown.  

The third-round draft pick out of Liberty scored on seven-yard run early in the second quarter. After running towards the right side on a designed sprint-out concept, Willis felt pressure and spun away from danger, slipping between two defenders before reaching the end zone.  

For years, there has been talk of the NFL entering an era of 'positionless' football and, looking back on the 2021 season, there is a case to be made that it's finally here.

With the league dominated by dual-threat quarterbacks and defenses increasingly reliant on secondary defenders who can move around the field, the phrase 'the more you can do' has never more definitively applied to the NFL – at least not since the bygone era of the two-way player.

Indeed, players who can excel in several positions and fulfil a multitude of different roles are more valuable than ever, with three of the teams that made last season's final four dependent on players who are among the league's most versatile.

Using advanced data, Stats Perform can break down the league's multi-faceted stars and look at some of the more versatile players who have flown somewhat under the radar.

The NFC West Unicorns

Aaron Donald - Los Angeles Rams

We would be remiss to mention the most versatile players in the league and not start it with Donald.

Donald is the NFL's pre-eminent defensive player and the most remarkable aspect of his dominance is that he maintains it irrespective of where he lines up on the defensive line.

His pressure rate of 28.1 per cent last year led all interior defensive linemen and it only dipped to 27.7 per cent when he moved out to the edge, though he did so for just 94 pass-rush snaps in 2021 compared to 448 from his defensive tackle position.

And 108 of his 127 pressures on the inside involved him beating a pass protector. That was the case for 23 of his 26 edge pressures, which illustrates his ability to confound offensive linemen regardless of whether he's working within tight confines or from wide-open space.

Jalen Ramsey - Los Angeles Rams

Donald is the engine of the Los Angeles defense, but a unit that has leaned on its top-end talent would not have remained among the league's elite if not for the presence of arguably the NFL's top secondary defender.

Ramsey still played the vast majority of his snaps as an outside corner in 2021, playing 784 in that position. However, as the 'star' player on the Los Angeles defense, Ramsey spends most of his time locked on an opponent's top receiver, which frequently means playing in the slot.

Indeed, Ramsey played 366 snaps in the slot and was outstanding when lined up there. Targeted 31 times from the slot, Ramsey allowed a burn, which is when a receiver wins a matchup on a play in which they're targeted, 38.7 per cent of the time. The league average for slot corners with at least 50 coverage snaps was 50.7 per cent.

Ramsey posted the ninth-lowest burn yards per target average (5.84) and was the seventh-best slot by big play rate. He gave up a big play on just 6.5 per cent of targets.

His numbers as an outside corner were less impressive. Ramsey gave up a burn 48 per cent of the time and surrendered 10.32 burn yards per target. However, his big-play rate allowed of 19.4 per cent was still better than the average of 26.1 per cent (min. 50 snaps) and amounted to him giving up 15 big plays on 75 targets across 398 coverage snaps.

In other words, Ramsey allowed a big play on under four per cent of his coverage snaps as an outside corner. The 'lockdown defender' tag applies to Ramsey wherever he is on the field.

Deebo Samuel - San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have dug in their heels and refused to indulge Samuel's trade request, with their determination to hold on to the wide receiver unsurprising given his outsized value to San Francisco's offense.

Samuel is to the 49ers' offense what Donald is to the Rams' defense. Last season, he was the reason it worked and the reason the Niners came agonisingly close to completing three wins over the Rams and claiming the NFC championship.

In a career year for Samuel, he racked up 1,405 receiving yards, leading the league with 18.2 yards per reception while his 10.1 yards after catch average was also the best among wideouts.

Yet it was the way in which the Niners utilised his ability in the open field to turn him into a de-facto running back in the second half of last season that weaponized the San Francisco offense.

When lined up in the backfield as a running back, Samuel averaged 6.58 yards per rush last season. He recorded 4.11 yards before contact per attempt, 2.67 yards after contact and averaged 4.77 yards per attempt on carries in which there was a run disruption by a defender. 

No running back could match his yards per carry average or top his performance on rushes disrupted by a defender. Rashaad Penny of the Seattle Seahawks and Dontrell Hilliard of the Tennessee Titans were the only players with over 50 carries at running back to average over 4.0 yards before contact per rush. Kareem Hunt (2.84) of the Cleveland Browns was the only player to average more yards after contact per attempt than Samuel.

With the option to hand the ball off to Samuel or flare him out and get him the ball on screens, lining Deebo up in the backfield allowed the Niners to limit Donald's impact for long periods and lessen Ramsey's effectiveness when he played the 'star' role by forcing him to follow Samuel into the box.

The duplicity Samuel brings in his hybrid receiver-running back role is critical to head coach Kyle Shanahan winning the play-calling chess match. Despite his trade demands, it's why the Niners will ensure he remains on their board.

Cooper Kupp - Los Angeles Rams

While Kupp may not do the damage Samuel does out of the backfield, it is impossible to leave the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year off this list.

Kupp was the only receiver in the NFL last season to finish in the top five in burn yards per route as an outside receiver (fourth, 3.9) and from the slot (third, 4.0).

On top of that, he was fifth in big-play rate among outside receivers with at least 50 targets, registering an explosive on 39.7 per cent of targets. Only two wideouts, Christian Kirk (36.7) of the Arizona Cardinals and Cedrick Wilson (36.5) of the Dallas Cowboys produced a higher rate of big plays from the slot than Kupp's 36.4 per cent.

Lined up for 24 snaps as a running back, Kupp was also utilised as a safety net for Matthew Stafford out of the backfield on occasion. His proficiency in contributing to pass protection by blocking defenders before getting out into his route perfectly encapsulated just how well-rounded of a player he has become.

Queens on the Chessboard

Cordarrelle Patterson - Atlanta Falcons

Patterson was overdrafted by the Minnesota Vikings back in 2013, but he carved out a hybrid role last season in the Atlanta offense in which he, like Samuel, spent time in the backfield and lined up as a receiver.

Designated as a running back, Patterson averaged 4.07 yards per carry, racking up 2.0 yards after contact per attempt and 3.06 yards per attempt on rushes in which there was a disruption by a defender.

Among running backs who registered 100 carries and were targeted 50 times, Patterson's 22.6 per cent big-play rate on passing targets was the highest in the NFL. Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints was second at 21.3.

With the Falcons transitioning to a new era at quarterback as Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder compete for the job, Patterson's ability to create yards after contact as a runner and explosive plays on routes out of the backfield will again be extremely valuable in 2022.

Between Patterson, Kyle Pitts and first-round pick Drake London, the Falcons have a trio of malleable playmakers who can ensure the offense is still explosive as they move away from the Matt Ryan era.

Travis Kelce - Kansas City Chiefs

In terms of value to his team, Kelce rivals Samuel with the multiple roles he plays for the Chiefs and the importance of him excelling from several spots will likely increase in 2022 following the Chiefs' trade of Tyreek Hill.

One of the league's most effective 'power slots' who uses his size and route running to his advantage when lined up as a de-facto slot receiver, Kelce played 333 snaps in that position in 2021.

He played 184 as an outside receiver and 136 from his traditional in-line tight end spot in an encapsulation of the evolution of a position that has grown ever more multi-faceted.

Kelce's burn rate from all three spots was over 70 per cent. He won his matchup with a defender on 79.1 per cent of targets as an in-line tight end. That ratio dipped to 76.3 per cent as an outside receiver and 74.4 per cent from the slot.

The majority of his big plays, however, came when he lined up outside. Kelce produced a big play on 34.8 per cent of his targets as an outside receiver and 32.3 per cent from the slot. He was not as explosive as an in-line tight end, a spot from where he delivered a big play 25.8 per cent of the time.

Though the numbers at each alignment may differ, they all paint the same picture: a playmaker who gets open regardless of where he is on the field. Combined with his underrated blocking, Kelce's remarkable versatility makes him one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the NFL.

Elgton Jenkins - Green Bay Packers

Jenkins has played every position in the trenches apart from right guard during his three seasons in the NFL, and in that time he has established himself as one of the best young offensive linemen in the NFL and an integral part of the Packers' attack.

Last season, Jenkins played the entirety of his snaps at left tackle before injury curtailed his campaign after eight games. He allowed only 11 pressures on 163 pass protection snaps, with his pressure rate of 6.7 per cent superior to the average of 9.2 per cent among left tackles.

Prior to that in 2020, Jenkins played most of his snaps at left guard, but also filled in at center and made cameos at both tackle spots. His pressure rate of 4.7 per cent was fifth among left guards that year. At center, he gave up a pressure on just 2.1 per cent of snaps – the third-best rate among players at the position.

Essentially, Jenkins is a rare breed of offensive lineman who can hold up in pass protection at every position on the offensive front. He appears set to slot in at right tackle for 2022, but Jenkins will likely be the first person the Packers call upon if they have an injury at another spot up front.

Ambidextrous Defenders

Micah Parsons - Dallas Cowboys

Parsons claimed NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2021 thanks to an exceptional first-year campaign that saw him make an unexpectedly outsized impact as a pass rusher.

On 220 pass-rush snaps, Parsons generated 69 pressures for a pressure rate of 31.4 per cent that was tops among linebackers with at least 50 pass rushes.

Parsons spent 153 of those snaps on the edge but also proved extremely effective in coverage. Allowing a burn on 41.9 per cent of targets last season, Parsons gave up only 6.86 yards per target – the fourth-fewest among linebackers targeted at least 25 times.

Also second for his position with a run disruption rate of 16.4 per cent, Parsons swiftly proved his ability to influence every facet of the game and his multiplicity will make him somebody opposing play-callers will constantly have to think about when game planning for the Cowboys.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah - Cleveland Browns

Though Parsons was the standout defensive rookie in the league last season, he was not the best first-year linebacker in coverage. That distinction went to Owusu-Koramoah, who slid to the second round of the 2021 draft and went on to lead all linebackers with 5.83 burn yards per target allowed and give up a big-play rate of 4.5 per cent that was also the best for the position.

Owusu-Koramoah played most of his snaps (414) at inside linebacker but also spent time at outside linebacker, on the edge and in the slot on top of a handful of snaps at outside corner.

He did not pass rush often, logging just 27 snaps in that regard, but gained nine pressures for a pressure rate of 33.0 per cent. Against the run, he registered a disruption rate of 15.3 per cent.

Owusu-Koramoah is a player the Browns can trust to hold up in man and zone coverage and has the flexibility to operate in almost every position in the back seven. He can play the run extremely well and has produced encouraging flashes as a pass rusher to suggest he can grow in that area.

Any success the Browns enjoy on defense in 2022 will likely in part be a product of Owusu-Koramoah's malleability.

Chuck Clark - Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens added Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams to their safety room this offseason but have, to this point, kept hold of Clark.

On the surface, that may be something of a surprise. However, a deeper dive into the numbers illustrates the value he has to Baltimore's defense.

Though Clark operated at free safety for 526 snaps in 2021, he also played 108 at strong safety, 97 in the slot, 81 on the edge and over 100 at linebacker.

He defended double-digit targets from free safety, strong safety and in the slot. Only at free safety did he allow more 10 burn yards per target.

His average of 8.01 burn yards allowed per target when lined up as a deep safety was 12th in the NFL. In the slot, he gave up 9.25 per target – better than the average of 9.53 for slots with at least 50 snaps.

With Williams set to slide in at free safety, Hamilton and Clark will have the freedom to roam around the field in three-safety looks and their proficiency in playing the slot should offer the Ravens more answers in defending tight ends and the bigger wideouts that are spending an increasing amount of time on the inside.

Under the Radar Rovers

Kamren Curl - Washington Commanders

Sticking at the safety position and with teams that play their football in Maryland, Curl has quietly emerged as a stud who can fulfil a variety of roles in the defensive backfield.

Last season, Curl played 342 snaps as a free safety, 211 in the slot, 90 as a strong safety, 56 as an inside linebacker, 53 as an outside linebacker and 45 as an outside corner. To say the Commanders have confidence in him all over the field is putting it mildly.

Lined up as a deep safety, Curl allowed 6.02 burn yards per target – the best ratio in the NFL. He allowed a big play on 14.8 per cent of targets, which was the fourth-best rate among deep safeties.

In the slot, he surrendered only 6.15 burn yards per target and a big play on two of his 21 targets. Though Curl was not asked to do as much in coverage when he played closer to the line of scrimmage, he influenced the game with his play against the run. His run disruption rate of 10.0 per cent from the inside linebacker spot was equal to that of Derwin James of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Defensive centrepieces are rarely found in the seventh round, but the Commanders have clearly unearthed one who has the multiplicity to rival defenders of a much higher profile.

Elijah Moore - New York Jets

If former 49ers defensive coordinator and now Jets head coach Robert Saleh is hoping to develop his version of Deebo Samuel, then Moore may be his best candidate.

Moore thrived playing as both an outside receiver and in the slot in his rookie season after being picked in the second round last year. He was tied for 16th in burn yards per route (3.0) among receivers with at least 50 targets. Moore also finished 16th in that group in big-play rate, delivering a burn or a burn for a touchdown on 35.7 per cent of targets.

Though the explosive plays (25.7 per cent) dropped off when he was in the slot, Moore excelled at maximizing his separation as an inside receiver, finishing tied for 10th (min. 25 slot targets) with 3.1 burn yards per route.

Moore carried the ball only five times as a rookie, but he averaged over 10 yards per attempt, with one of those attempts going for a touchdown. Though it is an extremely small sample size, that's the kind of efficiency to suggest he should be given increased opportunities on designed touches out of the backfield in his second season.

Asking Moore to replicate Samuel would be ambitious. However, if he can succeed in a more varied role while continuing to produce from several receiver spots, it would be a substantial boost to Zach Wilson's hopes of a second-year leap.

Lamar Jackson is hopeful of having a long-term deal with the Baltimore Ravens before training camp but is not thinking about a possible holdout.

Jackson is entering the final year of his rookie contract, with seemingly little progress made on an extension.

He is due to earn $23million in 2022 and when asked by USA Today if he would agree to a deal before camp, Jackson replied: "Hopefully.

"I'm not going to say 'yeah' right now. Hopefully. But it's God's timing."

On the subject of a potential holdout, Jackson said: "I don't have that on my mind."

The league's pre-eminent dual-threat quarterback, Jackson won the MVP award in his second season in 2019 after throwing for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He also ran for 1,206 yards and seven scores.

However, the Ravens suffered a shock Divisional Round loss to the Tennessee Titans to end that season and were eliminated at the same stage of the 2020 campaign by the Buffalo Bills.

Jackson endured an injury-hindered 2021 season, throwing 16 touchdowns to 13 interceptions and adding a career-low two touchdowns on the ground as the Ravens missed the playoffs with an 8-9 record.

No player in the NFL has a higher yards-per-carry average over the course of the last three seasons than Jackson's 6.36.

Veterans are scheduled to report to Ravens training camp on July 26.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson has died at the age of 26, the team announced on Wednesday. 

"We are profoundly saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson," the Ravens said in a statement.

"He was a kind, respectful young man with a big smile and infectious personality. We express our heartfelt condolences to Jaylon's family and friends as we mourn a life lost much too soon."

Ferguson’s agent, Safarrah Lawson, said the former Louisiana Tech star died in Baltimore. A cause of death is still being determined. 

"It's with great sadness that we announce the passing of Baltimore Ravens LB Jaylon Ferguson," Lawson said in a statement. "The family asks for your prayers and privacy during this trying time."

Ferguson played at Louisiana Tech from 2015-18, racking up 45 sacks to set the NCAA career record and earn the nickname of 'Sack Daddy'. 

The Ravens selected Ferguson in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft and he went on to appear in 38 games (including 10 starts) with Baltimore. Ferguson totalled 4.5 sacks in his NFL career. 

Lamar Jackson has said he wants to be a Baltimore Raven for the rest of his career, but the 2019 NFL MVP was less definitive when asked if he will be present for the start of training camp in July.

As expected, Jackson's contract status was a main topic of conversation when he met with reporters following Thursday's final day of mandatory minicamp.

The dynamic quarterback is entering the final season of the five-year, $32.5million deal he signed as a rookie in 2018.

Jackson, who is representing himself in negotiations, said he and the Ravens have had discussions about an extension, but stopped short of saying for certain if he will attend training camp or play Week 1 without a new deal.

"We're having a conversation about it," he said. "I don’t know."

Jackson still remained optimistic he will remain a Raven past this season and beyond, though, adding when asked: "I expect so. Yes, I do."

Jackson did attend mandatory minicamp after skipping Baltimore's voluntary offseason training activities last month, though said his absence was not contract-related.

"I just wanted to stay away and just grind. I just wanted to come back and just see how it felt. [And] I feel good," he added.

Extension talks between Jackson and the Ravens have moved slowly, with general manager Eric DeCosta saying in March negotiations had gone on "at Lamar's urgency."

With a league MVP to his credit and being the only quarterback in NFL history with two 1,000-yard rushing seasons, the 25-year-old is in position for a big second contract – perhaps one that could exceed the record $230m in guaranteed money the Cleveland Browns gave quarterback Deshaun Watson on a five-year deal agreed to in March.

Jackson insisted the Watson contract would have no bearing on his situation, saying: "I'm a man of my own. I don't worry about what those guys get."

Jackson also responded to comments made by Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti earlier this offseason, which suggested the star signal-caller may not think he was worthy of such a lucrative long-term contract until he wins a Super Bowl.

"I still want my Super Bowl, though, but I think I'm worthy," Jackson stated. "Yes, sir, I do."

Lamar Jackson may not be attending the Baltimore Ravens’ organised team activities, but that isn’t a concern for head coach John Harbaugh.

It’s not uncommon for established players to skip their team’s OTAs, and although Jackson won the league’s MVP Award in 2019, he is coming off an injury-marred 2021 season and is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The fact that he hasn’t engaged in discussions with the Ravens over a contract extension is also somewhat concerning.

But Harbaugh is certain his star quarterback is training hard on his own, and will be present when the Ravens open mandatory minicamp on June 14.

"I expect him to be here at mandatory minicamp," Harbaugh said Wednesday. "I know he's working hard. Lamar Jackson's a hard worker, so I'm not worried about how hard he's working.

"I fully expect him to come back in great shape, that's what he talks about. I'm sure he's throwing, I'm sure he's doing a good job, and when he gets back here, we’ll roll with Lamar."

Jackson was criticized by Chris Simms on Pro Football Talk Live on May 27, with the former NFL QB saying: "(Tom) Brady wouldn't be missing OTAs in year four of his career... Brady didn't miss an OTA until he had played in four Super Bowls."

Responding to those comments quoting a tweet featuring a clip of Simms' remarks, Jackson wrote: "Lamar wants to be Lamar Chris.

"This part of OTAs is voluntary my guy I will be there, just not on your watch. It's probably other QBs not attending voluntary OTAs either but since it's Lamar it's a huge deal. Find something else to talk about."

Jackson, who is set to make just over $23 million guaranteed on his fifth-year option in 2022, averaged 240.2 passing yards and 63.9 yards rushing in 12 games last season. He finished with 16 passing touchdowns, a career-high 13 interceptions and an 87.0 QB rating – eighth lowest among the 30 quarterbacks with at least 350 passing attempts last season.

The Ravens lost four of the five games Jackson missed last season and finished 8-9 to miss the playoffs for the first time in his career.

Lamar Jackson hit back at criticism of his absence from Baltimore Ravens' OTAs as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

The 2019 NFL MVP has shown no willingness to engage in discussions with the Ravens over a contract extension.

He has insisted he has no desire to part company with Baltimore, but Jackson has not been present as the Ravens have started early on-field preparations for the 2022 campaign with the OTAs – organised team activities.

Jackson was criticised by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, who referenced previous comments from the Ravens star, who previously said he wanted to be the Tom Brady of his era.

Simms said on PFT Live: "Brady wouldn't be missing OTAs in year four of his career. ... Brady didn't miss an OTA until he had played in four Super Bowls."

Responding to those comments quoting a tweet featuring a clip of Simms' remarks, Jackson wrote: "Lamar wants to be Lamar Chris.

"This part of OTAs is voluntary my guy I will be there, just not on your watch. It's probably other QBs not attending voluntary OTAs either but since it's Lamar it's a huge deal. Find something else to talk about."

Simms responded, saying: "That’s all good my man. You be you. I am rooting for you. Yes I would like to see you at OTAs. But you got to do what’s best for you. Not singling you out.

"We have discussed all QBs who have not attended OTAs. You are Lamar freaking Jackson!! Of course we r gonna talk bout you."

Jackson won the MVP award in his second season after throwing for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He also ran for 1,206 yards and seven scores.

However, the Ravens suffered a shock Divisional Round loss to the Tennessee Titans to end that season, and were eliminated at the same stage of the 2020 campaign by the Buffalo Bills.

Jackson endured an injury-hindered 2021 season, throwing 16 touchdowns to 13 interceptions and adding a career-low two touchdowns on the ground as the Ravens missed the playoffs with an 8-9 record.

No player in the NFL has a higher yards-per-carry average over the course of the last three seasons than Jackson's 6.36.

New Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown has confirmed he requested his trade away from the Baltimore Ravens.

And the former Oklahoma pass catcher, who is to be reunited with Kyler Murray, says he told Lamar Jackson the Ravens' run-first offensive system "wasn't for me" more than a year ago.

In one of two significant receiver trades on the first day of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Cardinals parted with the 23rd overall pick in return for Brown and a third-round selection.

Having already secured perhaps the best player in the draft in ultra-versatile safety Kyle Hamilton, the Ravens used their additional first-round pick to bolster their offensive line in front of quarterback Jackson with center Tyler Linderbaum.

Jackson's Twitter activity suggested he was unhappy with the Ravens' business, frustrated by the loss of the wide receiver he has looked to more than any other in his NFL career to date (256 targets, 164 receptions, 20 touchdowns).

The former NFL MVP posted a series of messages, including sharing a post from Brown in which he said to his former QB: "Wish I coulda played with my brotha forever but ima see you at the top."

However, speaking to media on Friday, Brown revealed he was the driving force behind the trade, and his desire to move on could have come as no surprise to Jackson.

"It was just [about] my happiness," he said. "I talked to Lamar about it after my second year, then after my third year leading up to the end of the season.

"He wasn't playing, but I let him know again: I can't do it.

"It's not really on Lamar; I love Lamar. It's just the system wasn't for me, personally. I love all my team-mates, I love the guys, but it was just something I had to think about for myself.

"The Ravens and I both handled it the right way. I didn't go out and make anything public; I just kept it in-house, kept working, and it all worked out."

In the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Jackson's first two as a full-time starter, the Ravens ran on 56.0 per cent and 55.9 per cent of their plays respectively, leading the league in this regard.

Since entering the NFL in 2018, Jackson has recorded 3,673 rushing yards – by far the most among QBs and the seventh-most of all players.

Murray (1,786 rushing yards just since 2019) is third among QBs over that period, but Brown already knows he can effectively link up with the Cardinals star.

In 2018, at Oklahoma, Murray's 4,361 passing yards and 42 passing TDs led the Big 12, with Brown his top receiver with 1,318 receiving yards and 10 receiving TDs.

Murray wrote on Twitter following Brown's trade: "Let's run it back! Hollywood to the desert... Y'all welcome my boy!"

Marquise Brown is back with Kyler Murray after he was traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the Arizona Cardinals.

A first-round pick of the Ravens in 2019, Brown played with Murray during their college days at Oklahoma.

They will now look to re-establish their rapport after the Ravens sent Brown and a third-round pick (100th overall) to acquire Arizona's 23rd overall selection in the first round.

News of the trade came shortly after the Ravens used the 14th overall selection on safety Kyle Hamilton, regarded by some as the best player in the draft at any position.

Brown caught 91 passes for 1,008 yards in 2021, the first 1,000-yard season of his pro career.

His 21 receiving touchdowns since 2019 are the 11th-most among wide receivers during that span.

The ultra-versatile Hamilton, who can play as a deep safety, in the box and in the slot, registered eight interceptions between 2019 and 2021, the fifth-most among FBS safeties during that period.

Lamar Jackson has flatly rejected any suggestion he wants to leave the Baltimore Ravens, describing such talk as a "false narrative".

Jackson is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, with no signs of an agreement with the Ravens on an extension.

But the 2019 MVP moved to put to bed the idea of him continuing his career elsewhere after the 2022 campaign.

He posted on Twitter: "I love my Ravens I don't know who the hell putting that false narrative out that I'm having thoughts about leaving stop tryna read my mind."

Jackson took the NFL by storm in his second year in the league in 2019, throwing for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He also ran for 1,206 yards and seven scores.

However, the Ravens suffered a shock Divisional Round loss to the Tennessee Titans to end that season, and were eliminated at the same stage of the 2020 campaign by the Buffalo Bills.

Jackson then endured an injury-hindered 2021 season, throwing 16 touchdowns to 13 interceptions and adding a career-low two touchdowns on the ground as the Ravens missed the playoffs with an 8-9 record.

No player in the NFL has a higher yards per carry average over the course of the last three seasons than Jackson's 6.36.

The Ravens will hope they can sign him to a new deal and then help Jackson recapture his 2019 magic throwing the ball, with Baltimore likely all too aware that a strong 2022 season played on the final year of his current contract would lead to a more difficult negotiation next offseason.

John Harbaugh has signed a three-year contract extension to remain as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens.

Harbaugh had been about to enter the final year of the four-year deal he signed in 2019.

The Ravens failed to make the playoffs in the 2021 season, finishing bottom of the AFC North on 8-9, and losing all of their last six games of the regular season.

However, it was only their second losing season since winning the Super Bowl under Harbaugh in 2013, when he beat his brother Jim and the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans.

Harbaugh arrived in 2008 to replace Brian Billick, with the 59-year-old boasting an overall regular-season record of 137-88.

It was also acknowledged by many that the Ravens' poor end to 2021 – having been 8-3 after Week 12 – was heavily influenced by bad luck with injuries.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti revealed the news at the annual league meeting on Tuesday, 

"I think John's grown and grown and grown," he said. "It's kind of interesting. I don't feel like I'm just signing up the same guy. I think that's really a compliment to him.

"I really feel like there's a rebirth in John as the years go on. Things that mattered to him don't matter as much anymore.

"I'm just thrilled as an owner to have a guy that's going to be going into his 15th year. So, I'm pretty pleased with it."

Harbaugh is now under contract through the 2025 NFL season.

Za'Darius Smith has agreed a three-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings, according to reports.

The 29-year-old became a free agent after being released by the Green Bay Packers, and has now signed on with their NFC North rivals.

Reports suggest Smith's contract in Minnesota will have a base value of $42million, and potentially be worth up to $47m with incentives.

He had been expected to return to the Baltimore Ravens last week – whom he left for Green Bay in 2019 – supposedly agreeing to a four-year, $35m deal, but later pulled out.

In the days following Smith's apparent signing, both Von Miller and Chandler Jones – who are several years older than Smith – signed contracts with the Buffalo Bills and Las Vegas Raiders respectively, worth nearly double the annual salary of the deal offered by the Ravens.

The versatile edge rusher recorded 18.5 sacks in four seasons in Baltimore after he was drafted in the fourth round in 2015.

He then racked up 26 sacks across his first two years in Green Bay, helping them to back-to-back NFC Championship Game appearances.

However, a back injury limited him to just one regular-season appearance in 2021. Smith returned for the Packers' Divisional Round matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, but could not prevent a 13-10 defeat.

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