Who signs first: Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, or Josh Allen?

Baltimore Ravens v Buffalo Bills
Getty Images

Ravens coach John Harbaugh got it right the other day when he said that it’s basically a “done deal” that quarterback Lamar Jackson will sign a second contract. Jackson will indeed get a second deal. As will Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

Still, someone has to go first. And whoever goes first will set the floor for the other two. For that reason, it’s highly likely that Mayfield and Allen (both of whom are represented by traditional football agents) will wait for Jackson (who isn’t) to sign his deal.

If Allen or Mayfield go first, Jackson and whoever is assisting him will simply use that contract as the baseline for his. Then, Jackson will end up with a deal that’s a little bit better than Allen’s or Mayfield’s.

Conversely, if Jackson goes first, his deal becomes the baseline for Allen and Mayfield. And if the Jackson deal ends up being not as good as it could have been, the agents for Allen and Mayfield will simply say, “Well, Jackson didn’t have an agent.”

Simms and I recently discussed this dynamics and others arising from the fact that the Ravens are negotiating the richest contract in franchise history directly with the player. It’s delicate. It’s complicated. And it presents a temptation for the team to insert terms that favor the franchise, terms that would be spotted by an experienced agent but that could be missed by a player who is negotiating the deal, perhaps with the help of a lawyer or some other adviser who doesn’t fully understand the many nuances and realities of NFL contracts in the age of a salary cap.

Regardless, don’t be surprised if the first domino — the Lamar Jackson deal — comes before training camp. And don’t be surprised if Mayfield and Allen decide to wait to agree to terms of their own until Jackson’s deal is done.

11 responses to “Who signs first: Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, or Josh Allen?

  1. We will see what happens with Jackson’s contract. Assuming it normally sets a benchmark as a top 5 deal at the position, dodging agent fees is brilliant. More money in his pocket.

  2. Lamar will be last because the Ravens have to come up with a deal for a quarterback who can’t throw.

  3. I think Allen will go first as he is the most reliable of the three. No way Mayfield deserves to be a top 3 paid QB, unless he leads his team to the Super Bowl. I would put the 5th year options and franchise tags on both Jackson and Mayfield.

  4. The browns and bills will be making a mistake if they pay their QB what Lamar Jackson will make. First, Lamar is an NFL MVP, has led his team to the playoff every year, won the division. Josh and Baker have only put together one successful season as a QB. Suppose teams didn’t learn anything by paying Jared Goff and Carson Wentz too early. Oh well. Lamar is the only proven commodity out of all 3. They all have 5th-year options. Why rush the process.

  5. running qb’s don’t get better as they age, not to mention the book is out on how to stop him..this contract is gonna set the ravens back for years unless they play hard ball.. who knows josh allen couldn’t hit the side of a barn two years ago and look at him now…i wouldn’t hold my breath ravens fans

  6. The money is so huge does it even matter who goes first? Take the dough, sign a 4 year deal and you’re set for life, as well as ditching the injury risk. For the contract after that you can play it anyway you want.

  7. If you pay QB that can’t throw top dollar how are you going to afford his supporting cast that has made him look good. Ravens will be trying to get out of the Jackson contract 2 years after signing it.

  8. Ravens will be interesting.

    Lamar is a league MVP. And the guy does nothign but win.

    And agents take about 10%. The Ravens are a good organization and do right by their players. So I think the Ravens are gonna sign Lamar for “less” and save some cap space but really reward Lamar for not having an agent by putting some of that 10% money back in his pocket.

    As for the other two, I wouldnt be so excited to pay Mayfield. The Browns best hope they are paying good Baker, not the mediocre diva. Bills fans would be wise to lock Allen up long term, He actually, consitently, looks like the real deal.

  9. Whoever signs first is not indicative of each QBs strength of commitment to the organization. As it stands today, all 3 would say they want to end their careers with their respective teams. Ask this question at the end of each season, and the answer may be different depending on the circumstance of how the season went.

  10. “ not to mention the book is out on how to stop him”

    If the book is out I wouldn’t waste my money on it. They made it into one the top 4 teams in the AFC last year.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.