Almost immediately following the news that the Buffalo Bills signed Josh Allen to a huge contract extension last week, the national media couldn’t wait to speculate on what it would mean and how it would affect the ongoing negotiations between the Baltimore Ravens and their star signal-caller, Lamar Jackson.
Allen and Jackson were two of five quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft and have been the most successful of the bunch by far. Allen’s new deal takes on six more years to his current contract and is worth $258 million with $150 million in full guarantees. This averages out to about $43 million annually and keeps him in upstate New York through the 2028 season.
While the national media thinks that this development will create a sense of urgency to get Jackson locked up sooner rather than later — or provide a baseboard for what his eventual extension will look like — nor he or the Ravens are worried about it.
Jackson is about a week removed from being activated from the Reserve COVID-19 List after contracting the virus a second time within a year and is focused on just getting ready for the 2021 season with the ultimate goal in mind.
“That’s good for him, but like I said, I’m not worried about that,” Jackson said Monday. “I’m just trying to work on getting better right now. Like, I just got off COVID[-19]. I’m worried about my teammates, and we’re trying to get somewhere. So, the time will come about that.”
The Ravens have repeatedly expressed their unwavering commitment to Jackson as the face and future of their franchise for the long haul. Their timetable remains the same and won’t be divulged or accelerated just because another team signed their young quarterback first.
“Nothing has changed in the sense of it’ll happen when it’s going to happen [and] when it’s best for both sides to happen,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “Both sides want it to happen. There’s really not a hurry on it.”
If you look at all the moves that General Manager Eric DeCosta made this offseason, they were those of a front office devoted to helping Jackson be the best he can be — so he can lead them where they ultimately want to be at the end of the season. DeCosta was able to upgrade the offensive line and improve the weapons at Jackson’s disposal in the passing game. Until the time for a new deal comes, all concerned parties are taking it day by day and trying to get better.
“Lamar is going to be our quarterback for many years to come,” Harbaugh said. “We want him, [and] he wants us. We’re focused on what’s important now, which is a good practice.”