Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is entering the final year of his contract. The front office has been trying, and failing, to re-sign him for months.
For a while now speculation has run rampant regarding why Jackson has been dragging his feet.
Does he not want to play in Baltimore long-term?
Is it because Jackson does not have a legit agent and instead relies on advisers, including his mother, to guide his career?
This weekend, an answer emerged.
“At the start of the season, the story was that he was too focused on football,” reported Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “After the season, the story was that he was too focused on getting healthy. Per a source with 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.”
So is that it? Is Jackson “too focused” to get something done on the contract front? Obviously not. What’s really at work here is that he knows that amount of his next deal will be higher if he signs it in 2023 than if he were to ink it in 2022.
The Green Bay Packers just handed Aaron Rodgers $50 million per year. Should Jackson wait, $60 million annually isn’t out of the question for him.
Now obviously there is always the risk of injury. But as Dak Prescott recently proved, even suffering something catastrophic doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a massive payday. It just means you might have to wait a little while longer for it.
For the Ravens, this is probably a best-case scenario. As noted by Florio, this just gives them the opportunity to franchise tag Jackson and save a bit of money, all while assessing his true ceiling.
“Fifth-year option in 2022. Franchise tag in 2023,” the Pro Football Talk scribe noted.
“If the salary cap increases by, say, 15 percent this year, the franchise tag for quarterbacks will be in the range of $34 million in 2023. If so, he’d get $40.8 million in 2024. Combine that with the $23 million he’ll make this year, and that’s a three-year payout of $97.8 million. Given the current quarterback market, that’s not a bad deal for Baltimore.”
Jackson is an immense talent. That much is undeniable. But he also comes with a lot of headaches and a propensity for disappearing when it matters most. Claiming you got poisoned only works as an excuse for one playoff failure; not all of them.
Honest stuff from Paige. https://t.co/60qpv01E5r
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 2, 2022
And this is something Jackson himself has acknowledged.
There is still time for Baltimore and Jackson to work things out. But at the moment, it doesn’t look like that is in the cards.