Lamar Jackson’s contract situation may take one of these paths – Baltimore Ravens blog

OWINGS MILLS Md. — The first day he was back with the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday, quarterback Lamar Jackson He rolled to his right, and he threw a 30-yard pass downfield to the tight end Mark Andrews While running.

Jackson is an exceptional playmaker and his contract situation makes him unique. According to team officials, Jackson is the only NFL player without an agent. He has not yet entered into negotiations for a multiyear extension, despite Ravens' desire to do so. Jackson's contract is due to expire in March.

Though Jackson’s presence this week was expected at mandatory minicamp this week, what remains uncertain is his timeline for negotiating and signing what will be one of the league’s largest contracts.

Jackson was eligible to extend his contract 15 months ago. Since then, the average quarterback per-year contract has increased from $45 million to $45 million.Patrick Mahomes) to $50 million (Aaron Rodgers). The highest amount of guaranteed money has increased from $141.4 million (Mahomes), up to $230 million (CityBank).Deshaun Watson).

“He is a unique cat, and what are you going to do with a guy who wants to be unique?” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said at the NFL league meetings in March. You don't try to force him to conform.

“We’re taking him as we take him. We appreciate him. His teammates and his front office love him. It's almost like, “Just keep doing you Lamar and we'll make this work somehow.”

Although there are many options to how this highly publicized and unusual contract situation might play out, one common factor is that no matter which route it takes, it will have profound ramifications.

Jackson signed a new deal by the Ravens before his contract expired.

There’s not a lot of optimism Baltimore and Jackson can agree to an extension before the season. However, there is hope. A source stated that Jackson is now inside the Ravens facility, which is the first time Jackson has been in the offseason.

Out of 20 quarterbacks drafted between 2011 and 2017, three signed extensions just before their fifth season: Andrew Luck and Cam Newton. Blake Bortles. Dave Gettleman (then-Panthers general manager) said that Newton's deal took 11 days to negotiate. This is a good example of how deals can be done quickly.

If the past shows, the time to be on the lookout for a new contract is after the season. In 2013, Baltimore made quarterback Joe Flacco The highest-paid NFL player (6 years, $120.6 Million) was identified three days before deadline to apply for the franchise tag. Each side may feel pressured by the deadline for applying for the tag. Jackson might not want to risk injury and lowering his value by signing one-year deals under the tag in 2023 and 2024.

Baltimore places a franchise tag on Jackson and signs him to a long term deal

If the sides can’t sign an extension by March 7, the Ravens would have to use the franchise tag to keep Jackson off the free-agent market.

It’s rare for the Ravens to use the tag. Baltimore did it twice in the past decade. It’s almost as rare to see NFL teams use the tag on quarterbacks. Drew Brees (2012) was one of five quarterbacks who were given the tag in the 10 previous offseasons. Kirk Cousins 2016 and 2017 Dak Prescott (2020 and 2021). Brees and Prescott signed long-term agreements, while Cousins hit free-agent markets and signed a landmark agreement with the Minnesota Vikings.

The Ravens are known for signing players immediately after they apply the tag. The Ravens signed five of the seven players they tagged over their history (cornerback Chris McAlister and linebacker). Terrell Suggs, Haloti Naga, defensive tackle; running back Ray Rice; kicker Justin Tucker). Only Wally Williams (offensive lineman) and Wally Williams (outside linebacker) are permitted. Matthew Judon After receiving the franchise tag, you can sign elsewhere.

Jackson gets free agency after two years of playing under the franchise label

This is the Cousins-model. He was the most desired free agent for years after he played two seasons under the franchise label with Washington. Cousins signed a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million contract, which made him the NFL’s highest paid quarterback at the time.

Cousins had 26 wins over six seasons and was a Pro Bowler when he became free agent. Jackson was an NFL MVP and won 37 games over four seasons.

The big payday would require a gamble. A devastating injury would likely hurt Jackson’s value, especially being a quarterback who relies as much on his mobility as his arm. Jackson has been hit 709 more times than any other quarterback since becoming the Ravens' starting quarterback halfway through the 2018 season. Jackson was durable up until last season when he sustained a right ankle injury that forced him to miss four games.

Bisciotti estimates that the market for quarterbacks will reach $60 million per year in 2025. Jackson however, has pushed back against speculation that he wants free agency in 2025.

In March, Jackson tweeted: “I love my Ravens. I don’t know who the hell [is] putting that false narrative out that I’m having thoughts about leaving. Stop trying [to] “Let me think.”

Jackson is being traded by the Ravens

Let’s be clear: This is not an option the team has even hinted about. Ravens officials often spoke of Jackson as their quarterback in the future.

However, there would be a decision to take if Baltimore placed the franchise tag on Jackson next season. This would kick off the two year clock that will precede Jackson's free agency. It’s difficult to believe the Ravens would watch Jackson sign elsewhere in 2025 and be content with getting a third-round compensatory pick in return. The Denver Broncos The team traded two picks in the first round and two picks in the second round to the Seattle Seahawks In March, to acquire a 33-year-old Russell Wilson, so it’s realistic to think Baltimore could get at least three first-round selections for Jackson, who is 25.

However, Jackson's trade is not on the team's radar and team officials are clear about that.

“He's a guy that when we think about the Ravens three, four, five years from now, we envision Lamar being a very, very big part of that team,” DeCosta said at the NFL combine in March, “and definitely a player that can help us win Super Bowls.”

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