The days of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson playing for pennies on the dollar are over following the completion of his fourth season in the NFL.
Now that Jackson is slated to enter the final year of his rookie deal in 2022, getting a long-term extension done is one of the team’s top priorities and was one of many topics that General Manager Eric DeCosta addressed in his press conference on Friday.
“The first thing I would say is this is an unusual negotiation because I’ve been dealing with a player,” DeCosta said.
It’s one of the more unique negotiation situations that rarely occur given that Jackson doesn’t have representation. Agents are usually the main point of contact between front offices and players when it comes to the business side of football and especially during contract talks.
DeCosta said that he would never divulge any specifics from private conversations with a player but he did share that the two have had multiple discussions concerning his contract dating back to last offseason.
“What I can say is that Lamar and I have had probably five or six conversations at different points over the last year in regards to his contract,” said DeCosta. “We picked up his option, as you know. I think at this point I would say we’re working at Lamar’s pace.”
Jackson didn’t feel pressed to get a deal done around this time last year coming off his third year and it remains his stance of not being in a rush to get a new deal done following year four. In his season-ending presser, the former unanimous league MVP said that his focus heading into the offseason was getting healthy after missing the final four games of the 2021 season and getting ready to take care of business in the 2022 season.
“He’s comfortable where we are right now. I think he feels that we have a lot of unfinished business, he has a lot of unfinished business,” DeCosta said. “He wants to win the division. He wants to win the Super Bowl. I think he and I both share that same vision. That’s basically where we stand. There’s a great line of communication.”
With Jackson at the helm, the Ravens have fielded one of the most potent, explosive, and electric offenses in the league over the last three seasons. The team is confident in the two-time Pro Bowler as the face and future of the franchise in addition to the straw that stirs their drink on the offensive side of the ball.
“Lamar is a Pro Bowl quarterback,” DeCosta said. “There’s a lot of upside with our offense and Lamar is a big part of that. He’s the right person to do it.”
Getting a deal done this offseason would be in the best interest of both sides since it could drop his 2022 cap hit by $13 million from $23 to $10 million. It would free up some much-needed financial flexibility for the team to make some key acquisitions via trade or free agency to put a better roster around their star signal-caller.