Due to a contract situation, an undisclosed injury, or a combination of both, Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins sat out of a mandatory minicamp in Baltimore last week.

Earlier this offseason, Dobbins was not present for any voluntary workouts, as he was at team facilities but didn’t take the field in any way. Regardless, Dobbins told WJZ Sports that he still wants to be a Raven.

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“The thing I can say is I would love to be a Baltimore Raven for the rest of my career,” Dobbins said. “I would love to because I love the city, I love the people. It feels like family here. It feels like my second home. And I hope that happens.”

The former second-round runner from Ohio State back in 2020 stated, “The business side is very hard. It’s very different,” as there were reports of him dealing with a soft-tissue injury a few weeks ago, but Dobbins declined to talk about that.

When talking about his frustrations with his contract situation, he mentioned, “But it’s part of it. It’s part of the dream and it’s something I’m blessed with — to deal with the business side of that. You saw with Lamar [Jackson] it’s never just roses and daisies. It can be hard at times you know, and it’s business though.”

Entering the final year of his rookie deal, he is scheduled to make $1.39 million for the 2023 season, per Spotrac. According to ESPN, this is why the star running back who flashed prior to his 2022 injury is sitting out.

So far, Dobbins has had bad luck with the injury bug in his pro career for Baltimore. In three seasons, he has only played 23 games, missing all of 2021 with a torn ACL, LCL, hamstring and meniscus, as it hampered his 2022 season, undergoing two different knee surgeries the past two years.

In his rookie year, he rushed for over 800 yards and nine touchdowns, as last season Dobbins had to miss sporadic weeks of time due to the lingering effects of his previous knee injury. In 2021, he tore his ACL and more in the preseason, as even in 2022, he came back in Week 3 to then be placed on injured reserve after Week 6 but came back the last four out of the final five games of the season.

Last season and even in his rookie year, the 24-year-old has complained about his workload before in the Greg Roman offense, as he never really took the full-time role as a three-down running back. He was always splitting time with other backs like Gus Edwards or a veteran on the roster, like Kenyan Drake in 2022, as they were all in a committee backfield since his rookie year.

With Dobbins sitting out for however long, Edwards should take the lead role, as he should be healthy when training camp rolls around. He missed some OTAs but came back for a minicamp the week after, dealing with an undisclosed injury, as he is also recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in practice that also derailed his 2022 season.

The 28-year-old only started in four out of the nine games he was on the field last year, as the former undrafted rookie from Rutgers agreed to “contract alterations” back in March, as he will be in Baltimore for the final year of his contract at least and reduces his $4.38 million by about $1 million. This pay cut saved the Ravens some cap space and improved his chances of making the team for this upcoming season.

From 2018-2020, Edwards rushed for over 700 yards on the ground for consecutive three seasons, making him an underrated addition to have him stick around in Baltimore for their ground attack, for at least a few more seasons.

But with both of those running backs out in minicamps and OTAs, guys like Justice Hill and undrafted rookies Keaton Mitchell and Owen Wright have made the most of it. Hill re-signed with Baltimore to a two-year, $4.5 million dollar deal, as he should certainly get more opportunities as a rusher on the field, and not just on special teams.

The 25-year-old was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft from Oklahoma State and has dealt with injuries of his own, missing all of 2021 with a torn Achilles. But now hopefully passed that, as of now, he is the lead back or in the rotation when Edwards returns for training camp. Either way, Hill should be looking at more opportunities in the new Todd Monken offense.

Usually, at least one undrafted rookie free agent makes the team. This season, is no different, as there are plenty of candidates who have a great shot to make the team. But one of them is Mitchell, the running back from East Carolina who might be the favorite or runner-up as a UDFA to make the team in 2023.

Many were shocked he wasn’t drafted but the uber-productive back profiles as a scat back or third-down pass-catching back, but Mitchell can easily be more than that if he gets his opportunities too in this offense. In his last two collegiate seasons, he rushed over 1,000 yards and double-digit total touchdowns in back-to-back years for ECU. Thinking about a newly signed Lamar Jackson taking command with Monken and Mitchell in the backfield is exciting when looking at plays like this.

The running back market has nose dived into oblivion this offseason, as even proven starters like Giants’ Saquon Barkley and Raiders’ Josh Jacobs were franchise tagged and are still waiting on a new deal. Jacobs led the league in rushing and Barkley had a revival statically that he hasn’t posted since his rookie year.

Colts running back Jonathan Taylor is the most recent example of speaking on of the market for running backs, as he is also looking for a contract extension. Austin Ekeler, earlier in the offseason, also requested a trade before the Chargers added incentives to his contract, as both are nearing their final year with their existing contract.

Free agency has some bigger names compared to most positions, as running backs like Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette, James Robinson, and Kareem Hunt are all available on the market. But it seems like a long-term or big-time deal with even a stud at the position might be gone with the wind.

Dobbins wanting his insurance makes sense, due to his past injury, but for the Ravens, he might not be the running back they want to invest their future into. Baltimore usually invests the least amount into the position due to the offense they run and with Jackson leading the way, this might not be the right time or place, based on his body of work for the team despite not being given the opportunities he could’ve had, especially in the playoffs.

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