The Baltimore Ravens and star quarterback Lamar Jackson have spent the past few years in quiet, but highly publicized contract negotiations. The 2018 first-round pick has done nothing but win football games since entering the league and has plenty of leverage working in his favor after capturing an MVP award in his second season, the first Baltimore player to ever earn that honor in the franchise’s history.
Alternatively, the Ravens feel they’ve been put in a bind in these negotiations thanks to the shocking and unprecedented deal that was handed to Deshaun Watson by the division rival Cleveland Browns. With the reported chasm between the two parties coming down to guaranteed money ostensibly thanks to the Watson contract, it sounds like Baltimore’s front office has attempted to find some 11th hour middle ground that will finally satisfy their quarterback.
Countdown to the Lamar Jackson contract decision. Will any more guaranteed money get added to the deal? S. Bisciotti would never green light a Deshaun Watson-style fully guaranteed deal at all. Jackson has a strong argument for more. My understanding is an improved offer is out.— JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) September 5, 2022
There’s a lot to unpack here, with the first point being we’re approaching Jackson’s deadline to hammer out a deal. He told reporters during training camp that after the season started, he wouldn’t be open to any more negotiating, so as to focus on the week-to-week rigors of quarterbacking an NFL team.
This is understandable but puts the Ravens in the position of having to try and get something done with him before Week 1 kickoff, which may put undue pressure on them to hasten things up and potentially relent to some more of Jackson’s demands. From that point of view, setting a deadline may turn out to have been a brilliant negotiating tactic from the famously (or, infamously) agent-less young phenom.
And this latest development may solidify it as his coup-de-grace in this multi-year process. The contract arbitrations between Jackson and Baltimore have been very tight lipped up to this point, so the fact that ESPN’s Josina Anderson (who has solid enough ties within the building to break the occasional story about the happenings inside of it) is the one putting this out there tells us that the Ravens brass is A) confident enough in this most recent offer to put it out to the public that it’s been made, B) trying to put some pressure of their own on Jackson to come to the table and sign it, or C) both.
The good thing about deadlines is they can spur action that more nebulously conducted negotiations aren’t beholden to, and this may be the case of an olive branch being extended to try and finally push things over the goal line with just a few seconds remaining on the clock. Hopefully this is the case for all involved (including fans, such as yours truly) who are tired of watching this now years’ old saga play out.