In what can’t be considered anywhere near a surprise, the Baltimore Ravens have officially picked up the 2022 option on quarterback Lamar Jackson’s contract.
There was no way that Baltimore would have declined said option and face the possibility of losing the former NFL MVP in free agency following the 2021 campaign . According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, said option will now guarantee Jackson $23.1 million for the 2022 season.
The question becomes whether Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta will be able to work out a massive contract extension with Lamar Jackson now that he’s eligible for one. There’s a lot to factor in here.
Lamar Jackson contract extension and 2018 NFL Draft class
Jackson joins the likes of Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen as former first-round quarterbacks who are now eligible for extensions after accruing three seasons of service time.
All three of these young signal callers have shined in recent years, leading to speculation that it could be a waiting game until one team actually bites the bullet. In terms of comparisons between the trio, the numbers are somewhat similar. At the very least, when it comes to Lamar Jackson and Mr. Allen.
- Lamar Jackson stats: 7,085 passing yards, 2,906 rushing yards, 87 total touchdowns, 18 interceptions (102.6 rating)
- Josh Allen stats: 9,707 passing yards, 1,562 rushing yards, 92 total touchdowns, 31 interceptions (90.4 rating)
- Baker Mayfield stats: 11,115 passing yards, 79 total touchdowns, 43 interceptions (89.1 rating)
Both Allen and Mayfield made major strides in their third seasons in the NFL while Jackson seemingly took a step back as he was dealing with battling COVID-19.
- Jackson: 2,757 passing yards, 1,005 rushing yards, 33 total touchdowns, nine interceptions (99.3 rating)
- Allen: 4,544 passing yards, 421 rushing yards, 45 total touchdowns, 10 interceptions (107.2 rating)
- Mayfield: 3,563 passing yards, 27 total touchdowns, eight interceptions (95.9 rating)
What does this all mean? Whoever signs his extension first will set the market for the other two quarterbacks. Right now, the baseline for any Lamar Jackson deal has to be the four-year, $156 million extension Deshaun Watson inked with the Houston Texans last year.
It will be interesting to see if anything comes of this over the next several weeks leading up to training camp. The longer Baltimore waits, the higher Jackson’s asking price will be. That’s especially true if he puts up another banner performance in 2021.