When will Lamar Jackson engage the Ravens in contract talks?

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The curious Lamar Jackson contract situation reached semi-boil this week, with owner Steve Bisciotti lamenting the player’s unwillingness to take the team’s money and Jackson responding to speculation that he’s hoping to engineer a path out of Baltimore.

Through it all, neither Jackson nor anyone else suggested that he’ll decide to engage the Ravens in contract talks. The team is ready, willing, and able to pay him. But he won’t even start the process of making offers or requesting them.

At the start of the season, the story was that he was too focused on football. After the season, the story was that he was too focused on getting healthy. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Jackson has told the Ravens that he’s currently too focused on having his best possible year and that he doesn’t want to do a deal until the 2022 season is over.

This meshes with Bisciotti’s spitballing on the possibility that Jackson thinks he doesn’t deserve a new deal until he wins a Super Bowl. Of course, not doing a deal that gives the Ravens a better cap situation in the short term could impede the efforts to put together a championship team, especially in 2023, when Jackson gets into the franchise-tag years of his career.

That’s where it’s heading. Fifth-year option in 2022. Franchise tag in 2023. If the salary cap increases by, say, 15 percent this year, the franchise tag for quarterbacks will be in the range of $34 million in 2023. If so, he’d get $40.8 million in 2024. Combine that with the $23 million he’ll make this year, and that’s a three-year payout of $97.8 million. Given the current quarterback market, that’s not a bad deal for Baltimore.

The problem arrives in 2025, when his 2024 salary would jump by 44 percent, making a third tag highly unlikely. That’s when he’d hit the open market.

For any other quarterback, seven years to unrestricted free agency wouldn’t be a bad thing. But Jackson plays the position with a unique physicality. Even if he were to suffer a Dak Prescott-style broken ankle and recover from it (which Dak obviously did), Jackson’s approach to the position puts him at risk of developing a critical mass of minor ailments that combine to cause him to lose that extra little bit that sets him apart. By not engaging the Ravens on talks aimed at signing him to a long-term deal, he carries the full range of risks arising from all potential injuries, acute and chronic, that could keep him from being regarded come 2025 as someone who should get market-value money.

The possibility of Jackson never engaging the Ravens at any point over the next three seasons carries an important presumption, one that may not come to fruition. What if the Ravens decide at some point to move on? That they need certainty at the most important position in the game? That there’s some other team that would perhaps try to trade for him, sooner or later or somewhere in between?

It’s uncertain how the Ravens will handle the situation because it’s truly unprecedented. Although the Ravens do indeed benefit from potentially paying out, on average, less than $33 million over the next three years at a time when the market is creeping toward $50 million and beyond, the greater objective at some point will become having a quarterback in place for years to come.

They thought they did. And maybe they’ll have Jackson for seven full seasons. Or maybe they’ll decide after his fifth season that, as the Chief did with Tyreek Hill, the Packers did with Davante Adams, and the Seahawks did with Russell Wilson, the time has come to maximize the potential return on Jackson’s contractual rights.

36 responses to “When will Lamar Jackson engage the Ravens in contract talks?

  1. He and his mom think they hold all the cards, but what they don’t realize is he’s a serious injury away from losing the best chance he’s ever going to have to securing a guaranteed mega deal

  2. The Ravens should be secretly delighted by this turn of events.

    No matter how desirous the media, brainwashed fans and other know-nothings may be for Lamar to be an elite “quarterback”, he simply isn’t one and everyone with a bit of real football knowledge knows it.

    He’s merely a running back who happen stop throw the ball at times (and not well, may I add). The Ravens should trade him, get a mother lode of picks for him, save a bunch of money and be happy to see him run out of town.

  3. Probably—He wants to have a year he finishes really well and reap the reward.

    Maybe—He is afraid he will be signed and traded.

    Possibly—Kirk Cousins is secretly his agent.

  4. Russell Wilson was 10 years not 5. After so long I’ve gotten the impression that Jackson is perfectly content to get tagged twice without engaging in protracted negotiations. If Baltimore wants to open with a back up the Brinks truck and dump a mountain of guaranteed cash he’ll sign. Otherwise he’s got a player’s coach, an offense tailored to his unique skillsets, and a very good defense when healthy. And before anyone makes the ridiculous statement, Huntley cannot replace Jackson. He was Charles Barkley turrible his last 3 games when Lamar was hurt.

  5. i think the last time a running qb won the super bowl was steve young.
    guys like him, runners for sure, passers by necessity dont hold up historically
    and dont get the trophy at the end.
    they do sell a lot of swag and seats though.

  6. Lamar just walks to beat of a different drummer. I remember another qb from charm city who’ waited to win super bowl mvp in his 5th year. Worked out so well for him that he celebrated at McDonald’s and then just smiled at all the haters who thought he was not elite.

    Lamarvalous is planning to do the same thing and let’s hope he does because he’s a special talent who lives to ball for his city and his team.

    Let’s go #8. Time to fly

  7. They didn’t want to overpay for a running back who hoists the ball well some of the time anyhow. He’s a damned fool and will never get the contract he could have if he had a professional agent!

  8. Bidding for him starts at 20% more than whatever Wilson works the Broncos for… so starting bid is in the $55 mill a year range.

  9. Lamar knows that there will be big money coming to the NFL in the next few years. He will be rewarded for his patience. He will likely get a contract that exceeds Josh Allen’s.

  10. Why wouldn’t Baltimore quietly trade him, draft a qb in rd1 and then just use Huntley until the draft pick is ready?

    I mean, I am loving this because it’s Baltimore, but that is the no brainer decision.

    If they paid him 30 mil per for him, it’s too much as he’ll get hurt again.

  11. I can’t see them putting the franchise tag on him. NO way is he worth that kind of money.

  12. This will be a Jared Goff contract level of regret for the Baltimore Ravens ownership,front office,coaching staff and fans if they give Lamar Jackson a market value QB contract. I’m just wondering how long it will take ravens fans to turn on Lamar after getting a few more early exits out of the playoffs.

  13. abnotthatab says:
    i think the last time a running qb won the super bowl was steve young.
    ==

    You kids. Steve Young was never a “running QB.”
    Much like Fran Tarkenton — only faster and more athletic — Young was a talented pass-first QB who always kept his eyes downfield, but was adept and afraid to scramble when he had to.
    If you don’t know the difference between a runner and a scrambler, look it up.

  14. As a bengal fan , i hope they make the running back the highest paid player ever , ho bout 52 mill for 6 guaranteed

  15. Lamar is betting he doesn’t get hurt, because an injury to his speed will make his worth almost nil.
    I don’t get why he doesn’t take the money now, but if he guesses right and doesn’t get hurt, he’ll win in the end.
    If he gets hurt, look out below!

  16. Math is part of the Wonderlic which he did pretty awful on so are we really that surprised that he is in this position? Of all QB’s hoping to cash in on a big year Lamar’s style of play is by far the worst QB in the league to take this gamble…

  17. Not showing much intelligence here. He is just the next big thing, in a line of former next big things that never won crap.

  18. I would trade him. I never thought the Ravens viewed Lamar as a long term QB. He is a guy you get on the rookie deal and put a stacked roster around him. Now that it worked you can trade him in a rinse ane repeat action.

  19. Something seems strange here, are they considering trading him. It would not surprise me.

  20. Reading these comments it’s hard to believe he was the unanimous MVP just two years ago.

  21. They need to get this resolved so he can get back to fumbling on the field

  22. If Jackson’s goal is engineering his way out of Baltimore, he’s a bigger fool than I thought. I’m not a Harbaugh guy, but the Ravens from owner to coach are as solid as any team in the NFL. Lamar will regret leaving if he does.

  23. There is no real master plan with this situation, but I don’t believe anything will happen until the upcoming season plays out. Hopefully, at that point there will be more clarity on Lamar’s ability as a passer. 2021 should have helped answer that, but injuries ruined any chance for that to happen. The Ravens will not over-pay until they have a better feel for Lamar as a QB. They know more about him than anyone commenting here and I trust them to ultimately make the right decision. If it means a couple Franchise Tags, then so be it.

  24. At this point, he is either insanely greedy, painfully naïve, or just flat-out stupid. If he is holding out for an even bigger deal down the road, somebody better teach him how to slide or run out of bounds. Nothing wrong with getting everything you can, but he likely has generational money on the table right now, which almost certainly goes away if he tears up a knee or shoulder. He will regret it for the rest of his life if he loses a couple hundred million trying to get ten or twenty more.

  25. BuckyBadger says:
    April 2, 2022 at 7:03 pm

    I would trade him. I never thought the Ravens viewed Lamar as a long term QB.

    ———————————————————————————-

    If you’ve never thought the Ravens viewed him as a long term QB, why do you assume another team will and they can get good trade value?

  26. He’s very atypical (a running QB, despite the writer’s hesitation to use the term), but is talented enough that he surely deserves a big contract.

    But – he hasn’t won anything and is vulnerable to injury. Seems like working with the team on a contract would be best for both sides. Betting on himself for multiple years is riskier for him than almost any other QB.

    It’s also kind of a jerk move, in that it sort of keeps the team in suspense and hampers their ability to plan. Trying to squeeze a team for both franchise-tag money and a big contract is selfish and shows a lack of consideration for your teammates.

  27. bike1122 says:
    April 2, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    As a bengal fan , i hope they make the running back the highest paid player ever , ho bout 52 mill for 6 guaranteed
    ___________________

    As a Ravens’ fan, I hope the same thing because he’s earned it.

  28. best off season four quarterbacks and he got “zero”.
    .
    he could have demanded crazy money.

  29. The Ravens have been quit willing to build an offense specialized for him. Theres probably other teams that would try to do that and have the ability to pull it off – but not many. He could get Josh Allen money now – at a team that is built around him – and he would be wise to take it.

  30. nite2al says:
    April 2, 2022 at 9:42 pm
    bike1122 says:
    April 2, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    As a bengal fan , i hope they make the running back the highest paid player ever , ho bout 52 mill for 6 guaranteed
    ___________________

    As a Ravens’ fan, I hope the same thing because he’s earned it

    ————
    He brought you one postseason win in four seasons. You think that earns a big payday?

  31. Lamar Jackson seems very much to take the Cam Newton route, burn bright with athleticism vs traditional QB passing skills and then be completely washed out in less than 10 years. If I was the Ravens I would prefer to go year to year and replace him after 2025, if he lasts that long.

  32. dartwick says:
    April 3, 2022 at 1:31 am
    The Ravens have been quit willing to build an offense specialized for him. Theres probably other teams that would try to do that and have the ability to pull it off – but not many. He could get Josh Allen money now – at a team that is built around him – and he would be wise to take it.

    20Rate This

    ——————-

    That would mean Baltimore gets progressively worse moving forward giving a running back 40 mil per.

    DeCosta should be fired for even suggesting it.

    It’s clear this is why a contract has not been signed.

  33. “We really want to see the Ravens tie up about $40+Mill a yr for Mr Regular Season.”

    – signed the Bengals,Steelers,and Browns.

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