There are a lot of Baltimore Ravens fans who want to keep Lamar Jackson’s contract, but he hasn’t called them back yet.
It takes two to tango, as much as the Baltimore Ravens want to extend franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson.
If these feathered friends want to stick together beyond Jackson’s fifth-year option season in 2022, the former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL MVP will have to write something down. Jackson is well-known for representing himself during the negotiation process.
This is a different animal than when he relied on the pre-determined draft slot compensation coming out of Louisville.
Jackson either wants to go on a Super Bowl run like Joe Flacco did in a contract year, has other plans outside of Baltimore, or is simply too preoccupied with life to go into the Ravens complex and close the deal. Meanwhile, the Ravens’ brass and fan base are sweating over what appears to be a contract year for Jackson. By doing this now, he is playing a very risky game.
Let’s take a look at what it means for Jackson to be on an expiring deal at this point in the game.
Asked about the possibility of Lamar Jackson not signing an ext. this year, Bisciotti said: “Unless he has a change of heart and calls Eric and says I’m ready. But it’s like, Eric can’t keep calling him and say, ‘Hey Lamar, you really need to get in here and get this thing done.”
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) March 29, 2022
To this point, Lamar Jackson has not signed a contract extension with the Baltimore Ravens that will keep him with the team until after next year’s game, when he will be 25.
If he enters this season on an expiring contract and performs well, Jackson will make more money than Flacco. He doesn’t need to win the Super Bowl because he already has the league MVP award. Jackson may have a lot of clout, but the Ravens have the option to use the franchise tag on him if necessary. Surprisingly, Jackson might be interested in that.
It would once again be a pre-determined sum of money, as he would be guaranteed the average annual compensation of the league’s top five highest-paid quarterbacks. He could let the Ravens tag him again if he wanted to. Baltimore, on the other hand, will not want to do this since each year Jackson remains on the franchise tag will cost more money.
In order for Jackson to force his way out, he would have to hire a lawyer. Without Mark Rodgers, Russell Wilson will not be able to play for the Denver Broncos. Without David Mulugheta, Deshaun Watson will not return to the Cleveland Browns. Without Tom Condon, Matt Ryan will not join the Indianapolis Colts. Seismic trades have a great deal of complexity.
Ultimately, the greatest concern is the possibility of damage. When Jackson scrambles out of the pocket and takes on the role of a runner, he exposes himself to getting hit because of the way he plays the game. He may be a great athlete, but one poor hit may end his career, as it did for Robert Griffin III, his former backup and Heisman Trophy fraternity brother. This is a risky game to play.
Jackson’s strategy for representing himself is both audacious and fascinating.