In the summer of 2012, the Baltimore Ravens were attempting to sign their franchise quarterback, Joe Flacco, to a long-term extension. The Ravens were fresh off a 12-4 season and narrowly lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship. After an offseason of negotiations, Flacco left a reported $16 million-a-year deal on the table and bet on himself.
We all know how that ended.
A decade later, a similar situation is afoot in Baltimore, though there are different wrinkles added.
Jackson isn’t coming off such a winning season. Instead, his record was 7-5, and he missed the last four games due to a bone bruise injury sustained early against the Cleveland Browns in Week 14. Arguably, this was Jackson’s worst season as a starter, throwing 16 touchdowns (down 10 from the previous year) and a career high 13 interceptions. He also rushed for 767 yards and two touchdowns, both his lowest as a starter.
None of this has deterred General Manager Eric DeCosta and the Ravens from signing Jackson from a long-term deal, and it shouldn’t. Jackson is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and has proven himself to be a top-tier starter. But it appears Jackson doesn’t want to sign a deal after a sour season that left the Ravens record at 8-9. As much was said by DeCosta at the Combine on Wednesday.
“I think that it takes two sides to actively put their heads together and get a deal worked out,” DeCosta said. “We are ready to be there for Lamar at any point when he decides that he really wants to work on it. We will be [ready].” “We have an awesome relationship. Lamar has spent time with Coach (John Harbaugh) and I, in John’s office, on the phone via text. I don’t want to speak for him, but I think he’s very excited about this season we have coming up.”
It’s no surprise Jackson believes in himself. Moments after being drafted by the Ravens, he’s had Super Bowl aspirations and with them comes hefty, generational money. Now, it’s about whether Jackson ultimately enters the season without a new deal in place and to play out the fifth-year option of his rookie contract.