Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson to work under center more in 2021 season

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The NFL's most elusive quarterback could be more difficult to locate before the snap this season.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson will work under center more this year after exclusively taking snaps from the pistol formation the past three seasons, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Wednesday.

In a question-and-answer conference call with season-ticket holders, Roman said "the cat's out of the bag now" when asked if Jackson would move under center more in 2021.

"That is definitely going to be a part of what we do this year -- the percentage of which I cannot state at this point," Roman said. "I don't know the extent of it. But we are working on it and evaluating it every day."

Since taking over as the Ravens' starting quarterback midway through the 2018 season, Jackson has taken the fewest snaps under center (127) among quarterbacks with at least 10 starts. Last season, Jackson was under center for 4% of his snaps (36 out of 889).

The Ravens could shift him under center more this season to take advantage of his ball fakes.

"It's something we will certainly use from time to time, some games more than others," Roman said. "I believe it's a very important part in the development of a quarterback from a forward standpoint."

What also lies ahead for Jackson is a new contract. But Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban said you couldn't tell by watching Jackson in the first two weeks of offseason practices.

"I don't think it'll be a distraction," Urban said Wednesday. "I don't think he worries about that. He seems to be the same old guy that he is all the time. So I don't really have many concerns there."

Last week, Jackson said he would love to be in Baltimore "forever." He indicated that he spoke with Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta a month or two ago about an extension and didn't appear fazed by whether a new deal would get done this year or next.

Baltimore has Jackson under contract through the 2022 season after exercising his fifth-year option. Jackson's new deal is expected to place him among the highest-paid players in the game and could fall between the deals signed by Dak Prescott ($40 million per year) and Patrick Mahomes ($45 million per season) over the past year.

In 2019, Jackson became the youngest quarterback to win NFL MVP (22 years, 356 days old at the end of the regular season). Last season, he became the third-youngest quarterback to win NFL MVP and a playoff game. Only Dan Marino and Mahomes accomplished that feat earlier.

Jackson, 24, has positioned himself for a significant pay increase from his $1.771 million salary this year.

But Urban believe Jackson's focus is on growing as a quarterback, from footwork to throwing mechanics to at-the-line adjustments. During Wednesday's practice, Jackson was extremely sharp throwing the ball and joked around with teammates after taking off running.

"That's the natural progression -- a guy who plays at a very high level and you just continue to grow his game," Urban said. "One thing that he and I talked about is the great basketball players -- Michael Jordan comes to mind. He had to learn jump shots. So, you learn a jump shot, and you continue expanding your game that way."