On Monday, NBC Sports’ Peter King released his weekly column, and listed the NFL’s most influential people for the 2022 season. Landing on the list was none other than quarterback Lamar Jackson.
21. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore quarterback
I never draw many conclusions when players don’t go to voluntary offseason workouts. You know, on account of the English language and the meaning of “voluntary.” So where Jackson has been in the month of May doesn’t concern me. I’m also in the minority about the meaning of Jackson not engaging about a new contract; I think it’s not important, so long as he is in training camp and plays the 2022 season—and there is no indication that he intends to skip either.
If Jackson stays healthy, I believe Baltimore will challenge Cincinnati for AFC North supremacy. I also think there is still a question about how much money the team should pay him in his next contract. Jackson, through four seasons, has been a marvelous regular-season quarterback and a C-minus postseason quarterback. He’s 37-12 with an 84-to-31 TD-to-pick ration in the regular year. He’s 1-3 in the postseason, and has averaged scoring 13 points per game in those four outings. If I were Jackson, I’d want to play this season out and prove I can play well in the playoffs. If I were the Ravens, I’d want the same thing.
It’s a fair assessment to say Jackson will be one of the most influential people for the NFL this season. He commands a team loaded for a playoff run, while playing on a fifth-year option until otherwise. His contract talks, though quiet outside his circle, may influence how players approach their pending deals in the future. Other quarterbacks and stars may see Jackson’s route as beneficial, even when hundreds of millions of dollars are only a few signatures away.
Jackson wasn’t the only quarterback on the list, as seven others were named. At No. 2 was Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is influential for his $230 million guaranteed contract, along with the far more important 24 civil lawsuits for sexual assault.
Other quarterbacks listed:
- No. 3, Tom Brady
- No. 4 Patrick Mahomes
- No. 7 Josh Allen
- No. 9 Aaron Rodgers
- No. 17 Trey Lance
- No. 12 Joe Burrow