Why is Lamar Jackson skipping OTAs?

Two-time MVP Jamar Jackson has stayed away from most of the Ravens' OTAs. He's the only offensive starter in Baltimore who isn't attending the voluntary workouts.

On one hand, it's definitely voluntary. Players have no obligation to attend. He's fully in compliance with his contract and the Collective Bargaining Agreement, by staying away. He's fully within his rights. He's doing nothing wrong.

On the other hand, why wouldn't he volunteer to show up? He's the quarterback. The leader of the team. He's making $52 million per year.

Last season, the Ravens failed for the second time in his career to turn the No. 1 seed into a Super Bowl berth. The Chiefs, in contrast, keep pushing. Their quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, is working out with teammates at OTAs and on his own time.

As Mike Tomlin says, "We want volunteers, not hostages." Why wouldn't any quarterback who hopes to get the most out of his skills and to be as prepared as possible for the coming season not volunteer to be there? What else is he going to do?

Jackson's team has gathered for practices. He's the leader of it. Why wouldn't he choose to be present?

Most players who stay away from OTAs have a reason for it. Often, it's contractual. Jackson got his last year, and he's under contract for four more seasons. There's no reason to think he's miffed about his financial situation.

But what about this? If they'd paid Lamar after he first became eligible (after the 2020 season), he would have made a lot more in 2021 and 2022 — and he'd be getting close to a third deal. In the year since he signed his latest deal, the cap has gone up and the market has begun to pass him by. Jared Goff has already leapfrogged Lamar. Dak Prescott will do so, sooner or later. Tua and Trevor Lawrence are closing in on potentially matching and beating Lamar, too.

Whatever the reason, here's hoping there's a reason for Lamar not being there. A strategic purpose for not working with his teammates and preparing for the second season of the Todd Monken offense.

Again, it's voluntary. But when the team is otherwise together and you're the unquestioned leader of it, where else would you volunteer to be?

While there's no guarantee that participating now will make the player or the team any better when the season rolls around, it definitely won't make the player or the team worse.