The Ravens have been ready to give quarterback Lamar Jackson a big pile of money. Until recently, he hasn’t been ready to take it. He apparently has now developed a real sense of urgency.
Jackson may not appreciate the attention that the gesture will generate, but what does he expect? After months of not wanting to reach into owner Steve Bisciotti’s wide-ass-open vault, Jackson now seems ready to have the Brink’s truck back up to his doorstep.
He clearly deserves a second contract. The challenge becomes selecting the right dollars and structure. The Browns gave quarterback Deshaun Watson $230 million over five years, fully guaranteed. Why shouldn’t Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, expect the same deal — if not more?
The Ravens surely don’t want to fully guarantee five years at $46 million annually, given the possibility that the wear and tear from playing the position in a very physical way will catch up to him before the next five years expire. And that’s one of the biggest drawbacks of long-term, fully-guaranteed contracts. If the player can’t earn the money, the team needs someone else to play. And the team has less cap space for rewarding those other players who are playing, given the resources given to someone who is either too injured to play or no longer on the team.
Regardless, Jackson seems to be ready to get a deal done. The best way to do it would be to hire a good agent. The best way for the Ravens to make that happen could be to offer to gross up the contract value to cover the percentage of the compensation that gets paid as a fee — if as many believe Jackson doesn’t have an agent simply because he doesn’t want to pay one or two or three percent of the total amount to the person who negotiates it.