The ongoing saga concerning Lamar Jackson’s contract has been a situation that probably won’t get resolved until the 2019 NFL MVP signs a lucrative extension.
The entire offseason has been a guessing game as to when Jackson is going to put his John Hancock on a long-term extension. The Ravens reportedly want to get a deal as soon as possible, and it’s been mentioned that Jackson hasn’t come back to the area long enough this offseason to handle his business.
He shouldn’t have played last year without a deal.. https://t.co/4V3PQSTBlA
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) February 24, 2022
Previous reports suggested Jackson was asking for a Patrick Mahomes/Josh Allen type of deal in the $40M range.
Many analysts have given their opinion as to why an extension for Jackson is still in limbo. The latest is former Patriots linebacker and two-time Super Bowl champion Rob Ninkovich.
During a recent segment on ESPN’s “Get Up,” the former Purdue Boilermaker discussed the situation and says if there’s any hesitance on Baltimore’s end as far as awarding Jackson a huge bag, it’s the amount of punishment he receives because of his playing style. A playing style that has elevated the Ravens to perennial Super Bowl contenders, mind you.
“I would pay Lamar because I think he’s that good of a football player. These guys are smart. They do the analytics. You think they do all that stuff about football players at their height and weight and they don’t do anything about contact?”
“Lamar has been hit 821 times in his short career. So, I can tell you the team is looking at the amount of contact that he receives, and in longevity, the next four to five years, can he sustain that kind of contact without his game changing?”
Jackson’s Health Showed Decline Last Season
Since 2018 when he assumed the starting role for seven games, going 6-1, Jackson has dazzled by making unbelievable plays with his legs and his arm. While risky because he exposes himself to a lot of potential collisions, Lamar’s unique dynamism has been a huge reason for the Ravens’ success. The franchise is 37-12 under his leadership, but his style of play has worn on him a bit.
Last season he missed the final six games of the season with a nagging ankle injury. At the time of his injury the Ravens were 8-3 and the top seed in the AFC. With Jackson on the mend, Baltimore went on to lose their final six games, finishing 8-9 and failing to qualify for the postseason. There were some who wanted Jackson to give it a go, but head coach John Harbaugh was quick to shoot down those sentiments.
In a media session prior to the Pro Bowl, Harbaugh had this to say.
“I think early on, right away, you hope for the best with a bone bruise. Those things are really unpredictable. And there was a thought, even with Lamar, Lamar felt he was going to be back. First week, he thought he had a chance. Second week he assured me — he said, I’ll be back, I’ll be back. He worked really hard at getting back. But it just didn’t really heal.”
Coach Harbaugh on Lamar Jackson's injury: pic.twitter.com/rygnAWtiG0
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 31, 2022
Jackson has been seen working out by himself, as he’s not in OTAs. He looks fully healed, but the question still remains: Why hasn’t a new deal been reached? No way a franchise quarterback on his fifth-year option takes the field in any capacity without a new deal signed, sealed and delivered. The Ravens brass and Jackson are going to have to stop dragging their proverbial feet and get it done.
Ravens Add Quality Offensive Line Depth: 17 Hits Per Game Is Way Too Many
This offseason Ravens GM Eric DeCosta made it a priority to shore up an offensive line that failed to keep Jackson upright last season.
“I’ve had conversations with Lamar many times, and I’ve said, ‘Lamar, what can we do to help you? What is most important to you?’ Honestly, the thing that he always comes back to is the offensive line.”
That was addressed with veteran swing tackle Morgan Moses and center Tyler Lindenbaum, the top center in this year’s draft and No. 25 overall pick.
Now Jackson will need to become a more accurate and adept passer to limit the amount of blows he takes weekly. If not, the long-term prognosis for him doesn’t look good, and the Ravens will regret the huge bag they will eventually award him.