Lamar Jackson contract talks: Projecting star Ravens QB’s new deal, 2023 franchise tag chances, and more - Cody Benjamin
How much could Jackson command on a new deal?
All in all, we’d expect Jackson to presently command something like $46.5 million per year on a new deal. Call it a four-year, $186 million contract that makes him the NFL’s second-highest-paid QB behind Aaron Rodgers($50.2M) and allows him to revisit the market between ages 29-30. The Ravens, meanwhile, would avoid having to restart at QB and secure one of the NFL’s top-five signal-callers in terms of pure athletic ability, hoping to maximize their title chances in that window.
How much would Jackson cost on a 2023 tag?
Over the Cap projects 2023 QB franchise tags to cost a fully guaranteed $31.5 million. That would represent a substantial raise from Jackson’s 2022 payout ($23 million) on the fifth-year option, making him roughly the NFL’s 11th-highest-paid QB.
Williams has proven to be one of the best deep safeties in football. He played the fifth-most coverage snaps as the single deep player in the league last season and finished with the sixth-highest coverage grade (77.5). He is consistently one of the best players in the league at that job.
The Ravens have been a high safety team for quite a while under former defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale. Cover 1 and Cover 3 represented 61% of their defensive calls over the past three seasons. On 50% of their calls they showed a one-high safety look pre-snap and then played a one-high safety defense post-snap. This is who they’ve been for so long, and that fit would have been perfect for Marcus Williams. Where it gets interesting is with new defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald in the fold.
MacDonald just spent the 2021 season as the Michigan Wolverines‘ defensive coordinator, but before that he had been with the Ravens since 2014. He did not bring that blitzing one-high defense to Ann Arbor, instead showing a lot more two-high safety looks pre-snap and much more zone coverage overall.
MacDonald showed and played single high only 27% of the time in 2021, and his 30% blitz rate is a far cry from the Ravens’ 50% mark in 2019 and 2020 combined.
This definitely suits Williams. Even though he played in the deep middle often, the New Orleans Saints would rotate him back from more disguised pre-snap alignments. He also performed very well in half-field or quarters roles, earning the fourth-highest grade over the past three seasons there. He’s never been the player who is going to rotate down into the box to play man or an intermediate zone, but he can be everything else.
The Ravens heading in this direction schematically is perfect for Williams, as he can stay in a scheme that is at least similar from a pre-snap perspective to the one in New Orleans as opposed to the one under Martindale.
Planning for the future is an aspect of owning the Ravens that the 61-year-old Bisciotti still loves. He has spent many hours this offseason consulting with General Manager Eric DeCosta and Harbaugh about roster moves, the draft, and managing the salary cap.
“I enjoy this whole part of it,” Bisciotti said. “I enjoy free agency and the draft. I love the roster construction and the salary cap. It’s a pretty good life eight months of the year.”
The difficult months for Bisciotti are during the season, when his emotions are so closely tied to whether the Ravens win or lose. He has a difficult time managing his stress level on game days, especially during a season like 2021 when the Ravens were involved in so many close games.
When the Ravens win, Bisciotti is overjoyed.
“Those highs are so incredibly high,” Bisciotti said.
When the Ravens lose, Biscotti feels the disappointment to his core.
“In-season is very, very stressful,” Bisciotti said. “It’s not real enjoyable for me.”
However, he plans to keep riding that emotional roller coaster, and helping DeCosta and Harbaugh deal with the highs and lows.
“I become that consigliere for John and Eric,” Bisciotti said, smiling. “They talk me off the ledge, and then I bring a more positive message to John later in the week.”
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti announces John Harbaugh contract extension, addresses Lamar Jackson’s status - Jeff Zrebiec
Thus, it was no surprise Tuesday when Bisciotti, in a rare question-and-answer session with a small gathering of Baltimore-area reporters at the NFL owners’ meetings, announced that the Ravens have finalized a three-year contract extension with Harbaugh. The exact terms of the deal aren’t immediately known, but the new contract ties Harbaugh to the Ravens through the 2025 season.
Harbaugh will also maintain his status as one of the league’s highest-paid head coaches.
“No interest in having him go lame duck on me here. It’s not fair to him,” Bisciotti said. “I think John’s grown and grown and grown. It’s kind of interesting. I don’t feel like I’m just signing up the same guy. I think that’s really a compliment to him. I really feel like there’s a rebirth in John as the years go on. Things that mattered to him don’t matter as much anymore. I’m just thrilled as an owner to have a guy that’s going to be going into his 15th year. So, I’m pretty pleased with it.”
• Bisciotti is pleased with DeCosta’s work so far in free agency, but he stressed that the biggest development will be the healthy return of so many key players from injuries.
He acknowledged the need for defensive reinforcements, specifically citing cornerbacks and pass-rush help.
“It could be an all-defensive draft,” Bisciotti said. “I’d be happy with that.”
Mistakes all 32 teams should avoid making in 2022 NFL Draft - Damian Parson
BALTIMORE RAVENS: PASSING ON A CORNERBACK IN ROUND ONE
The Ravens secondary was decimated by injuries in 2021 and their top corner in Marcus Peters is returning from a torn ACL at the age of 29 with one-year left on his contract. Even with Peters, the talent in the secondary needs to be upgraded. Factoring the talent on both sides of the trenches and at wide receiver, the Ravens could have a top-tier cornerback prospect fall into their lap in the first round.
Passing on one of these talented prospects would be a huge mistake. Divisional quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Deshaun Watson present difficult tasks to defend and the AFC has raised its game to new heights. Adapt or get left behind.