With questions about Lamar Jackson’s contract continuing after Bisciotti’s talk with the media, one of the bigger ones that needs an answer is when a possible contract could start actually being worked on. It’s been widely reported that Jackson hasn’t been engaging in talks recently and with Bisciotti saying he doesn’t expect a deal to be done soon, speculation is ensuing.
Pro Football Talk writer Mike Florio seems to think he has at least part of the answer.
“Per a source of knowledge of the situation, Jackson has told the Ravens that he’s currently too focused on having his best possible year and that he doesn’t want to do a deal until the 2022 season is over,” Florio wrote.
This echoes the popular opinion that Lamar is betting on himself to make some more cash and go on a playoff run in the coming season, and possibly win a Super Bowl.
Ravens fans owill certainly remember this particular strategy, as it mirrors Joe Flacco’s plan in 2012. Flacco did exactly that, playing out his fifth-year option, and won Super Bowl XLVII. He also won the Super Bowl MVP in a performance that saw him throw for 287 yards and three touchdowns. The playoff run earned him a six-year contract worth $120.6 million, the highest-paid quarterback at the time.
Florio thinks there is an issue with this process for Jackson, though. That puts the Ravens in a good position to use the franchise tag on him, which he estimates to be about $34 million in 2023 and $40.8 million in 2024. Both those numbers would be absolute steals for the Ravens in a league where some of the top guys are making between $46-50 million this coming season.
That would put Jackson out into free agency in 2025, seven years after being drafted into the NFL. Florio adds in the perspective that most players wouldn’t mind seven years of being paid well and then bagging a large second NFL contract. But for a player of Jackson’s style, Florio thinks it could be risky.
“Even if he were to suffer a Dak Prescott-style broken ankle and recover from it (which Dak obviously did), Jackson’s approach to the position puts him at risk of developing a critical mass of minor ailments that combine to cause him to lose that extra little bit that sets him apart,” Florio wrote.
While with any player injury risk is a factor in every contract situation, especially with quarterbacks, the continuous singling out of Lamar Jackson is old. It’s been noted how well Lamar protects himself in the run game, his bill of health throughout his career being solid. He didn’t miss a single game in college and in the NFL has missed games only for illness before this recent ankle injury from a questionable hit while throwing. He shouldn’t be talked about any different than a Dak Prescott or a Josh Allen or any other quarterback.
The franchise tag route is a very real possibility for the Ravens. It could be a cheaper deal than signing Jackson to a long-term deal. But that was also the case for Flacco and the Ravens committed six years to him after his rookie deal. Bisciotti mentioned in his presser that he doesn’t want to go without a quarterback.
Bisciotti: "Without a QB you believe in, life (stinks) as an NFL owner and as a fan base. ... We appreciate (Lamar). All I know is that his teammates love him and the front office loves him."— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) March 29, 2022
The way the Ravens handled Flacco and based on Bisciotti’s comments, it bodes well that they will follow what Jackson would like to do and get that long-term deal nailed down after the 2022 season when Jackson wants to focus on it. In the mean time, it looks like we’ll just have to sit tight and see how Jackson blossoms in the last year of his rookie deal.