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Internet roasts ‘Karen’ for telling Lamar Jackson to donate to charity instead of gifting watches

Internet roasts ‘Karen’ for telling Lamar Jackson to donate to charity instead of gifting watches

Oh, Karen.

On Tuesday, the Ravens’ offensive linemen arrived at the team facility only to be greeted by brand-new Rolexes at their lockers. They were gifts from quarterback Lamar Jackson, the MVP favorite who’s taken the third-fewest sacks in the NFL this season among signal callers who’ve appeared in all 15 games.

It was a gesture of appreciation for a group that’s graded out as one of the best offensive lines in the league this year, but not everyone was pleased with the gifts. Karen Price, an apparent reader of the Baltimore Sun, penned a letter to the editor of the publication criticizing Jackson.

“So disappointing that in an age where professional athletes are making an insane amount of money he couldn’t have donated to charities — and done it in the name of his offensive line — then treated his teammates to dinner,” Price wrote.

“Those players can all afford their own Rolexes, so it is very discouraging that someone didn’t give him a little guidance. It just flaunts the amount of money they make and don’t know what to do with. Sorry, Lamar, I am not such a big fan now.”

That didn’t go over well with the masses, who quickly defended the Ravens quarterback for his gesture.

Another reader, this one by the name of Frank Sayegh, submitted a letter in response to Price.

“Where was your outrage when former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco bought virtual reality systems for his whole offensive line for Christmas? Get out of here with the racist fake outrage just to have something to be mad about,” Sayegh wrote.

This wasn't the first time a questionable letter to the editor about an NFL quarterback was universally slammed. In 2016, multiple readers wrote to the Charlotte Observer to complain about Cam Newton being lauded for celebrating the birth of his child despite being unmarried. Those came one week after a disgruntled Titans fan submitted a letter criticizing his touchdown celebration for, "The chest puffs. The pelvic thrusts. The arrogant struts."

Jackson has contributed to several charitable causes since joining the NFL ranks, including attending a benefit Halloween party for the Bradley & Nikki Bozeman Foundation—a group founded by one of Jackson’s Ravens teammates that works to combat childhood bullying—and donating $25,000 to Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that helps feed at-risk kids.

It might be a good idea to reconsider your stance before writing another letter, Karen.

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Ravens' options in a potential Matthew Judon trade

Ravens' options in a potential Matthew Judon trade

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Ravens have expressed interest in moving on from Matthew Judon through a trade this offseason. 

Judon, who isn’t under contract for next season, was tied for 19th in the league in sacks with 9.5 — a team-high. He was also the team-leader in quarterback hits with 33. The next best pass-rusher was Tyus Bowser, who registered 10. 

Lined up for a big payday, and with a high-priced franchise tag an option, the Ravens could lose their second pass-rusher in as many years on the free agent market should they elect to not pay Judon the elite pass-rusher money he’ll likely command.

Which brings the Ravens to the report from Schefter that indicated the team could move on from Judon, 27, through the sign-and-trade route. 

Should Judon, or the Ravens, walk away from the negotiating table in free agency, two options exist: The Ravens could either let him walk freely to another team and likely receive a 2021 third-round pick as compensation, or place the franchise tag on Judon. 

With the franchise tag option, the Ravens could keep him for a season and essentially kick the can down the road for a year, or trade him for a return that would likely be greater than the compensatory third, and more importantly, the help would be immediate. 

A few weeks ago, coach John Harbaugh said re-signing Judon would be, “pretty hard,” but that the team was going to try.  

But if the Ravens aren’t able, or are unwilling, to sign Judon, a potential blueprint for a future trade might have been laid out last year by the Chiefs. 

Last season, the Chiefs traded Dee Ford to the 49ers for a second-round pick just a month before they sent first and third-round picks to the Seahawks for Frank Clark and a third-round pick.

Ford had 13 sacks in 2018 and 29 quarterback hits while Clark had 13 as well and 27 quarterback hits. They both immediately signed long-term, expensive contracts with their new teams. 

Baltimore could make a move similar to that with Judon and get better, and more immediate, compensation for him and later add a pass-rusher with the draft capital than the team added.

The Ravens have just under 29 million dollars in cap space, meaning they’ve got the space to sign Judon to a long-term deal or keep him on the franchise tag, but they’d need to make some moves to be able to field a full roster. And that full roster, if Judon isn’t in Baltimore in 2020, needs pass-rushing help. 

Baltimore had 37 sacks as a team, and just over a quarter of them came from Judon. It also had 111 total quarterback hits, and 29.7 percent came from Judon. 

So the report that the Ravens could move Judon could play out, perhaps the most interesting aspect of a Judon trade would be the replacement the Ravens would need to have lined up.

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With big decision looming, Ravens guard Marshal Yanda mum on retirement plans

With big decision looming, Ravens guard Marshal Yanda mum on retirement plans

Ravens guard Marshal Yanda has a decision to make on his playing future, but he's in no rush to make it.

The 35-year-old is under contract with the Ravens through the 2020 season, but will take the next month or so to decide if he wants to continue playing or hang up the cleats.

"I'm going to take my time now," Yanda told Ravens.com regarding his future. "Done playing for the year, just take some time over the next month and basically just go with my heart and see how I feel."

The eight-time Pro Bowler was a vital piece in the NFL's best rushing attack in 2019. Yanda, the leader of the offensive line, started and played in 15 games this season for Baltimore, missing the regular-season finale as the Ravens rested multiple starters with the No. 1 seed already clinched.

Following Baltimore's upset divisional playoff loss to the Titans, a visibly disappointed Yanda refused to address his future, but he was definitely thinking about it then.

But if Sunday's Pro Bowl was the last time Yanda put on the pads, he didn't treat the game or experience any differently.

"Not necessarily," Yanda said if he cherished Sunday's Pro Bowl differently. "You're not in that frame of mind. I definitely didn't think about [my retirement decision] too much today, just because it was the Pro Bowl. It's more of a relaxed game, not like a really intense game.

"I didn't have those feelings as much as the Tennessee game," he continued." Yeah, it's a possibility. But those feelings were more in the Tennessee game."

Even at age 35, Yanda remains one of the best guards in the game. He's made the NFL's second-team All-Pro squad the past two seasons and has been a Pro Bowler every season since 2011, minus the 2017 season where he played just two games due to a season-ending ankle injury.

There's no debate: Baltimore would greatly benefit from Yanda returning.

"You want people that want you back," Yanda said. "You want to be playing very well when you end. Nobody wants to fade out; you want to go out strong."

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