One of the biggest NFL stories circulating over the past year and a half is the Lamar Jackson contract situation. As whenever his name is brought up, Lamar creates some of the biggest buzz in the media. Ever since Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti spoke to the media about the situation, talks have once again exploded. Comments on the Deshaun Watson contract and the guaranteed money have led people to believe Bisciotti won’t pony up to give Lamar the money he both deserves and wants. That’s creating the belief that Lamar is preparing a move away from the Ravens, generating even more talk in the media.
Well, Lamar has come out and shut those rumors down rather quickly with a tweet.
I love my Ravens I don’t know who the hell putting that false narrative out that I’m having thoughts about leaving stop tryna read my mind— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) March 30, 2022
Instead of getting people to take a step back, reevaluate the situation and discuss what a contract with the Ravens could look like, talk of him leaving is still active. I’m starting to feel like the emoji at the end of Lamar’s tweet. One of the more recent discussions took place on ESPN’s show Get Up with Mike Greenberg and Michelle Beadle. They did a segment with former GM Mike Tannenbaum and guest host Chris Long, shown below.
Tannenbaum showers praise on Lamar for his handling of the situation so far. His opening line says it all: “Lamar Jackson is a great player and a Hall of Fame agent.” I find it pretty hard to disagree thus far. Lamar could have signed an extension after 2020, following Josh Allen. He likely would have gotten a larger contract than Allen on the back of having a unanimous MVP, upwards of $44 million or more a year. By waiting, Lamar has made himself millions more, almost guaranteed to have a minimum of $45 million a year. If he wants to play off of a franchise tag or two, who knows where the market will be. $50 million a year for Lamar could be a steal for the Ravens when they finally have a real chance to discuss a contract with him.
Chris Long also chimes in after Tannenbaum’s dialogue. His comments on investing in Lamar are pretty off-base. They spent $100 million on a left tackle and poured two first-round picks into wide receivers in three years. He’s got, what Long would call, a “game-changer” in tight end Mark Andrews whom the front office invested almost $60 million in.
It’s also not an easy task to find replacements for your top 3 running backs on your roster right before the start of week one in September. The Ravens lost their 2 capable, likely Pro-Bowl caliber, running backs J.K.Dobbins and Gus Edwards to ACL tears. Both are capable of putting up 1,000-yard seasons and were expected to have a great year in 2021 before their injuries. They also lost the next backup in line, Justice Hill, when he tore his Achilles. So it makes sense that the running backs on the roster were the “second pass of veterans that didn’t get jobs elsewhere”. That’s all there was left to sign a week before the start of the NFL season.
I do like his comments on the injury risk not scaring Jackson. One of Lamar’s greatest traits as a dynamic quarterback is his ability to avoid contact while running the ball. As Long says, whether it's getting down, slipping out of bounds or maneuvering his body to only take glancing shots, he's very controlled when running the ball. The hardest hits we’ve seen him take are from in the pocket. He missed no games in college and had only missed time for illness reasons in the NFL before his injury which kept him out of six games this past season. An injury that was gained from a questionable hit while throwing the ball, not as a runner.
Of course, the endless white noise never ends when Lamar’s involved, so Long has to finish with a sideways comment. Despite Lamar putting his thoughts into public writing on wanting to stay with the Ravens, Long brings up the idea of Lamar coming to his hometown team in Miami, an idea that is gaining heavy traction due to Miami’s recent spending on the offensive side of the ball and the unsure status of Tua Tagovailoa’s future as the starting Quarterback there.
Whether or not Lamar signs an extension before the season, there is one thing that is for sure. Tannenbaum is right: Lamar's silence and handling of this situation as his own agent has made him a lot of money in the coming years.