Lamar Jackson’s future at the Baltimore Ravens is once again in doubt, and the quarterback is apparently a player the organization is desperate to tie down to a long-term deal. His current contract will see the 25-year-old become a free agent in 2023, something the M&T Bank Stadium side is keen to avoid.
The fifth year of his contract will see Baltimore pay Jackson $23 million, and many are wondering whether he’ll start attracting attention from potential suitors long before he gets to the final days of his deal.
When it comes to the impact Jackson made, when not injured, it’s fair to say that the Baltimore Ravens’ odds were better when he was in action this season than when he wasn’t in the team.
The contract situation has confused many pundits, Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Brandt being one of them;
“It was curious that the Ravens did not extend Jackson [last year],”
“I just didn’t understand where the lack of an extension was coming from. Was it coming from the Ravens, who were not ready to commit, who didn’t even offer a deal or offered a deal that was not pleasing to the Jackson side? Or is it coming from the Jackson side, where they think it’s better to wait and continue to see the market go up, and up, and up, and jump into negotiations now?”
“Now we come to a junction where there hasn’t been excellent performance due to injury as much as anything, and what do they do? To spin to the end of the chapter, I guess my prediction is they don’t do anything.”
Jackson took part in 12 regular-season games in 2021, his side completing a 7-5 record in those games, as opposed to 1-4 without him. John Harbaugh’s side failed to make it to the postseason, having managed to do so in each of the previous three campaigns.
One point that the Ravens must consider when it comes to possible contract options is whether Lamar Jackson today is capable of what he was in his prime, back in 2019 and, to a lesser extent, 2020.
Jackson has an overall regular-season record of 37-12 and won the NFL MVP award back in 2019 but hasn’t hit those heights since. If Baltimore wants to have the player as someone to build their organization around for the next few years, then they are going to have to make an offer that reflects that; otherwise, he’ll go off looking for alternative options that are sure to be incoming.
On that front, Brandt continued;
“There are two types of contracts out here now for young quarterbacks, and if I were a player, I’d want the Dak Prescott type, which is four years, $40 million [annually], and the best thing about that is the four years,” Brandt said. “So he’s going to get another bite at the apple at age 29-30, whereas Mahomes and Allen … [have] deals which basically take them off the free-agent market forever, and the teams are locked in.”
“I don’t know if the Ravens are trying to push those long-term deals, and Jackson doesn’t want that. If I were representing Jackson, I would not want that Allen-Mahomes lengths that only serves the team. I would want the Prescott lengths, and maybe that’s a sticking point.”