The time for the Baltimore Ravens and their superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson to reach an agreement on a lucrative long-term extension is winding down. If a deal isn’t met by this weekend, the former Heisman Trophy winner and second unanimous NFL MVP says he’s going to cut off all talks during the season.
In July and August, Jackson let it be known that if a deal wasn’t done there would be a cutoff point for negotiations. He even implied that date could be prior to Week 1, which takes place this coming weekend.
In August the former Louisville Cardinals standout told ESPN the following as relates to a cutoff date for talks about an extension.
“We’re coming up to it. It’s coming up. The season’s coming up. We’re going to be good for the season.”
Lamar Jackson said there were no updates on contract talks but indicated he will stop negotiations by the start of the regular season (which is four weeks away).
Asked if it's fair to say he wants a contract done or not done by Week 1, Jackson said: "Yeah, for sure."
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) August 13, 2022
That statement says Jackson just wants to focus on the season when it starts and doesn’t plan to entertain any contract talks or other distractions. Baltimore is fortunate that he hasn’t threatened to hold out. At the same time, the franchise hasn’t caved in to the former MVPs demands, whatever they may be.
Jeff Saturday Says Ravens Don’t Value LJ As Much As He Values Himself
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Jeff Saturday stated that maybe the Ravens don’t value Jackson as much as he values himself. And that’s the sticking point with a deal not being reached. Saturday also said the Ravens can do the deal if they wanted, but they simply haven’t.
“The Ravens themselves could do the deal. They are choosing not to do the deal, which tells you, ‘I don’t think you’re as valuable as you think you are.”
Saturday then implied that it’d be in the best interest of Jackson and the Ravens to have a deal in place prior to Sunday’s season opener.
“Somewhere deep down inside, your human nature goes, ‘Man the whole offense is built around me, everything I do, I’m putting my body on the line. Week 6 I’m getting banged up, my offensive line ain’t playing great and my receivers aren’t making plays. What am I doing, right now?’ Everybody can tell me how different he is … but we are all still human and if you are sitting with $230 million in the bank you might play different,”
"The Ravens themselves could do the deal. They are choosing not to do the deal which tells you, 'I don't think you're as valuable as you think you are.'"
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) September 6, 2022
As far as security for Jackson, a new deal would definitely allow him to play all-out. One has to believe without that type of long-term security Jackson will look to protect himself more. He’d be playing on a fifth-year option if a deal isn’t met this week. Meaning he’d be a free agent at season’s end. And then the question would be, will he re-sign with a team that didn’t value him enough to pay him prior to his final season?
That is a huge risk for Jackson and the Ravens to take, but it seems plausible it could happen.
Jackson Reportedly Wants Fully-Guaranteed Deal
The Cleveland Browns signing Deshaun Watson to a five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed deal hasn’t helped matters for Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. Jackson feels he’s accomplished more than Watson and Kyler Murray, who also signed a big deal with $160 million in guaranteed money.
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson got in on the bagfest last week, signing a five-year, $245 million extension with $124 million guaranteed and a $92 million signing bonus that will be pro-rated over seven seasons.
NFL reporter Josina Anderson tweeted on Monday, “Countdown to the Lamar Jackson contract decision. Will any more guaranteed money get added to the deal? S. Bisciotti would never green light a Deshaun Watson-style fully guaranteed deal at all. Jackson has a strong argument for more. My understanding is an improved offer is out.”
In late August, rumors swirled on Twitter that Baltimore offered Jackson $250 million, and the star quickly quelled that notion.
“No, they didn’t.”
Now the two sides have four days to figure this out or risk alienating Jackson and losing him at season’s end.
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