Keyshawn Johnson Says, “Yes, Lamar Jackson Is A $50M Quarterback” | Mad Dog Russo Says He Hasn’t Earned A Record Deal

The ESPN “Get Up” desk was jumping from the beginning of the show on Wednesday as Chris “Mad Dog” Russo did his weekly check-in and attempted to discredit the notion that Lamar Jackson should be the highest paid QB in the league, with the most guaranteed money, making $50M per season.

Chris Russo (left) and Keyshawn Johnson (right) got into it on ‘First Take’ regarding Lamar Jackson’s contract and if he’s worth $50M.

Chris Mad Dog Russo Doesn’t Think Lamar Jackson Is Worth $50M Per

“Under the right circumstances you probably have a chance to win a Super Bowl with Lamar Jackson,” Russo said, crediting the former NFL MVPs unique skill set. “But” Russo continued, “I’m not convinced you can win a Super Bowl with the way he plays the position and (making it) 20 games. I’m not sure he can do that. He hasn’t shown he can do it so far. So, to give him the most money of any QB in the NFL, which is what he’s going to want. He’s what, the sixth- or seventh-best QB in the league? I’m not giving him that kind of money.” 

Keyshawn Johnson disagreed, insisting that LJ8 is definitely a “$50M per year quarterback.”  Also, having played in the league, Johnson has an understanding of a superstar’s mental state while negotiating these mega deals. He also cautioned against franchise tagging Jackson and then having the dual-threat dynamo go to another team who would enjoy the fruits of a product that the Ravens invested in and developed against the wishes of some misguided, yet valued NFL opinions. 

“There’s other teams that are going to pay him. When you talk about fully guaranteed money. all Lamar cares about and all we care about is the first four years — that being fully guaranteed. 

Keyshawn Johnson Says Lamar Jackson Is Worth $50M Per Year

Johnson says Lamar has continuously gotten better each year he’s played and hasn’t regressed in performance, aside from injuries, which “you can’t control.” 

Johnson’s solution to easing the fear of committing too many years to a quarterback that might break down well before the contract is up, is to front load it.

“If the Baltimore Ravens were smart,” Johnson quipped, “They’d give him what he needs in the first four years. Don’t worry about the fully guaranteed part.” According to Johnson, every quarterback eats in the first four years of a long-term deal, so make sure those years are fully guaranteed.

“Then, they can come back,” Johnson said. “If he’s ballin’ they can negotiate a new deal, a la Patrick Mahomes. They’re going to have to see Mahomes this summer in K.C. His deal wasn’t fully guaranteed. They will have to come back and give him another $300 million.

“But [Jackson] absolutely deserves every single penny based on the team’s record with him and without him.”

The Ravens are 45-16 under Jackson, and that kind of winning percentage can’t be denied. It’s like an artist going platinum five albums in a row, but because its rap music the powers that be are hesitant to give them an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Lamar Jackson saga continues to heat up, and neither side is providing much information about what the sticking points are and what the future plans are if a deal isn’t reached for another season prior to the start of the next NFL chapter. 

While the risks involved with signing a player that has been hurt the past two seasons are enormous for Baltimore, the prideful organization would dread having to face a dynamic quarterback of Jackson’s ilk at any point in the future. Especially not a LJ8 with a chip on his shoulder. We might see 400 yards passing and 200 yards rushing that day. That would be a worst-case scenario of course, but as the negotiations drag on, or remain deadlocked, the ugly business of sports moves to the forefront.

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