For weeks now we’ve heard rumblings and grumbling about Lamar Jackson and his contract status and how the Ravens want to break bread, but they haven’t hit a number that wets Jackson’s whistle yet. Heading into the fifth and final year of his rookie deal, the 2019 NFL MVP hasn’t shown a sense of urgency to get an extension done with the Ravens.
Playing The Race Card?
Jackson recently took an interesting negotiating approach by saying on a talk show that the NFL is still biased against Black quarterbacks. Surveying the responses on several social media platforms, Jackson’s comments in a trailer for Season 5 of LeBron James’ “The Shop” triggered a good amount of non-melanated folks who claim he was playing the race card to get paid.
Via the NY Post:
“During an appearance on LeBron James’ ‘The Shop,’ the conversation turned to times in which the NBA star feels disrespected, and James brought the topic to Jackson.
“It’s dying off, but it’s still there,” James said about a bias against black quarterbacks.
“It’s still there,” Jackson agreed. “That’s why I need that championship.”
Risking It All?
Systemic challenges are something Jackson is very familiar with as he was the last of five quarterbacks picked in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. And one GM even suggested that the Heisman winner switch to wide receiver.
All of that aside, Jackson has proved himself and the Ravens are willing to deal.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter mentioned that he’d be leery of Jackson stepping on the field without a deal done. While FS1 personality Chris Broussard believes Jackson needs to get a deal done ASAP and have that security that all players crave.
But Broussard also believes that Jackson could use a bounce-back year, after the decline in his play since his MVP season.
Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens were 8-3 and the No. 1 seed in the AFC at one point this past season. Then he injured his ankle, missing the final five games, and the Ravens collapsed. https://t.co/rAkqfbI1nb
— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeague) February 22, 2022
Then there’s Stephen A. Smith, who questions Jackson’s thought process, about the entire situation. On a recent episode of ESPN’s First Take, Smith went unfiltered with his opinion of the chess (checkers?) game Lamar is playing concerning his contract.
Reports have surfaced that Jackson might want up to $40M a year in a long-term extension, which might be significantly more than the Ravens are willing to spend.
“One,” SAS said on Friday’s “First Take” episode…he’s not hearing what he wants to hear from the Ravens organization. Or, two, he ain’t the brightest damn candle on the birthday cake. Because there’s no reason (for the delay), if it’s $250 million on the table. You don’t step on the field without a contract for a team when that much is at risk. That would make you the worst businessman on our planet.”
Jackson represents himself and has no agent, so any deal done would be on his terms.
Ravens GM Wants To Get A Deal Done: No Way Jackson Steps On The Field Without A New Deal
There’s no way Lamar Jackson takes the field in 2022 minus a new lucrative long-term deal.
Especially after he just missed the last five games of the season due to a nagging ankle injury. Playing any position you want security, but especially at the QB position, the highest-paid in the league. That position hauls in truly life-changing, life-altering paper.
Ravens GM Eric DeCosta knows the importance of getting Jackson signed long-term, and he discussed it in an interview with NFL.com last week.
“Well I hope so, at some point, yeah he will. We’ve discussed this at length and I’ve said this before: We will work at Lamar’s urgency. He and I have had ongoing discussions. We’ve talked fairly recently as well. He knows how to find me; I know how to find him.
“He’s a guy that when we think about the Ravens three, four, five years from now, we envision Lamar being a very big part of that team and definitely a player that can help us win Super Bowls.”
Jackson Due To Make $23 Million This Season Which Is A Bargain
Jackson made roughly $3 million per year on the first four years of his rookie deal after being taken with the last pick of the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. This year that will be $23 million for the fifth-year option the franchise picked up. But he’s got accolades and should be in line to be paid like Patrick Mahomes ($45M per season) , Deshaun Watson ($39M) and other signal-callers of that ilk. No way we can have a league where Dak Prescott ($40M) makes more than Jackson.
Jackson boasts a career record of 37-12 in 49 starts, including 14-2 during his MVP year. He also led the league with 36 touchdown passes, which is pretty remarkable considering he’s looked upon as a runner more than a passer. Although his play has declined since that special 2019 season, Jackson is still arguably the most dynamic QB in the league, when you account for his arm and legs.
He shouldn’t have played last year without a deal.. https://t.co/4V3PQSTBlA
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) February 24, 2022
Jackson needs to sign the deal and give himself some security going forward. The injury this past season should tell him that much. He can always reopen negotiations after another MVP season or a Super Bowl run. Sometimes having an agent is a good thing. It helps keep your ego in check. Are the Ravens lowballing? Or is Lamar Jackson just going for the gusto and handling his business at all costs?
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