Offseason No. 3 of the Ravens-Lamar Jackson contract story has produced the biggest headlines, which include the franchise tag and a trade request. But this saga’s second year included the clearest picture of Baltimore’s offer.
Long reported to have offered Jackson $133M fully guaranteed, the Ravens proposed the former MVP a deal with $175M in total guarantees. The $42M injury guarantee would have shifted to a full guarantee early over the course of the contract, Albert Breer of SI.com reports. An additional $25M — present in the fourth year of the contract — would have become guaranteed in Year 3 of the deal, Breer adds. Overall, that 2022 offer topped $290M over six years. The $175M in total guarantees would have topped Russell Wilson ($165M) for second in the league.
The year-out guarantees helped move the Patrick Mahomes-Chiefs extension past the goal line in 2020, and while that 10-year agreement is an outlier and rather team-friendly, the two-time MVP has protections via the advanced rolling guarantees. Mahomes joins most of the league’s franchise QBs in having signed an extension before his fourth season. Jackson joins Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins in not doing so. Prescott, however, had a deal in place by this point in his career; he signed his Cowboys extension in March 2021. Jackson has played five seasons; no resolution is in sight.
Perhaps more importantly, given the time that has passed since the 2022 offseason — when the Ravens proposed the $175M guaranteed ahead of the Jackson-imposed negotiation deadline — Breer adds this deal is no longer on the table. The Ravens remain in fairly good position, even after their disgruntled QB’s trade request emerged, as no team has shown much interest in authorizing the monster guarantee he seeks. Baltimore has also been open to a Cousins-style short-term accord that would come fully guaranteed, per Breer, who adds Jackson is not set against one type of structure.
Cousins signed a three-year, $84M Vikings contract in 2018; that deal helped accelerate the QB market after it had moved slower in the years leading up to that point. Jackson indicated the Ravens have offered him a Cousins-like deal — a $133M fully guaranteed pact over three years — but the self-represented passer turned it down. Jackson, 26, has continually been linked to seeking a contract in the Deshaun Watson full guarantee neighborhood ($230M). With no other QB tied to more than $125M in full guarantees, Jackson and the Ravens have a substantial gap to bridge.
Jackson’s refusal to use an agent in these negotiations has generated scrutiny, and the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora notes it has contributed to the sixth-year star being in this position. Since Jackson entered the league in 2018, Mahomes, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Josh Allen and Kyler Murray have signed big-ticket extensions to lock in windfalls before their fourth seasons. Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts and Justin Herbert may join them this offseason. Watson earned unusual leverage to sign two deals before his sixth NFL campaign. Jackson played on his rookie salary in 2021 and the fifth-year option in 2022, putting him significantly behind his peers in earnings through five seasons. An agent might have helped prevent that outcome, and La Canfora adds some around the league believe a certified rep might also help provide clarity regarding the gridlock that has formed since the Ravens gave Jackson the $32.4M non-exclusive tag.
The Ravens remain on solid footing with Jackson in part because teams have lined up to say they are not interested, closing doors early. These paths might not remain barricaded all the way through the July 17 tag deadline, but they are presently closed. Jackson’s playing style has caused concerns about a short career, according to one executive assessing the Ravens offseason, via The Athletic’s Mike Sando. Despite Jackson missing 10 regular-season games from 2021-22, his 727 carries lap the field among QBs through five seasons. Cam Newton‘s 599 are second. Another exec added that if Mahomes were in this position, he would have 30 guaranteed offers.
Jackson’s injuries over the past two seasons and guarantee demands have frozen his market. The Ravens, meanwhile, want to bring back the former Heisman winner to play in new OC Todd Monken‘s scheme. A team’s draft not unfolding as planned might entice a post-draft offer sheet from another team, but for now, the Ravens are his only known suitor.
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Publish Date:2023-04-05 06:07:22