Lamar Jackson is executing the biggest bet on himself, and possibly in the NFL, since he failed to sign a contract extension during the offseason. Now the former MVP is gambling on a stellar performance during the 2022 season to head into free agency as a high-value target for the Baltimore Ravens or whoever has the biggest checkbook. However, Ravens OG Ed Reed had some sage advice for Jackson.
“He’s just got to be smart,” Reed said on the “Slow News Day” podcast. “I’m not telling him to play scared or anything, because I don’t think he’s going to do that, he hasn’t displayed that, but he has to be smart, because it is a business, and they will use that sh*t against you whether you like it or not.”
Through the first three games of the 2022 season, Jackson has completed 63 percent of his passes for 749 yards, ten touchdowns, and two interceptions. Still, Reed says that’s not enough.
“And it’s no shots at the Ravens, because they are an organization that’s a business. It’s a business first. It’s the NFL, and it’s football to the players and us, and we love that, but it’s a business first to the league. I experienced it. I know it for a fact. Sh*t hasn’t changed.
“Yeah, of course, they ain’t going pay your a** as much, if he doesn’t finish the season,” Reed continued. “He don’t finish the season; he didn’t finish the season last year. It’s a business, bro. I don’t know how else to tell you clearer than that. When I went through the situation with the Ravens, I was in my last year of my rookie contract, and I knew I deserved more. I still know for a fact that I was underpaid.”
REPORT: Former @Ravens safety Ed Reed tells Lamar Jackson , the organization is business first. If he gets hurt they’ll pay you less. Jackson and the @Ravens couldn’t get a new contract done before the season started pic.twitter.com/7PjRSgurLg
— The Fantasy Source 🔮🏈 (@FantasySource_) September 27, 2022
Jackson’s running style of play is a risk all its own for the No. 1 target on the field, the quarterback. Given his dual-threat abilities, he’s also rushed for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
Those 243 yards on the ground tied him for fifth in the league alongside Christian McCaffrey and just behind Nick Chubb, Saquon Barkley, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Jonathan Taylor, none of which is a quarterback. However, his optional run offense leaves him susceptible to injury, and the position he is taking with the Ravens is a dice roll that can be jeopardized in the flash of a play.
“You have to be smart about what you’re doing as well. Whether that’s eating right, staying healthy, getting proper rest, doing that accordingly. If I was his teammate, I would be telling him and I would speak to him that way.”
Jackson is a new era of athlete-businessman that, sans agent, is doing double duty in his career, working out the deal and making the plays on the field. Since football is a business, it is a slippery slope because emotions can run high when equating your worth versus what the team believes you are worth, and those complexities can show their heads in negotiation. Still, Jackson’s bet on himself is as admirable as audacious now. Only time will tell if it was the right maneuver.
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