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Baltimore Ravens ‘willing’ to give Lamar Jackson massive contract, why a deal is still unlikely

Matt Johnson

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is preparing for the 2022 NFL season with negotiations of a contract extension hanging over him in training camp. Once Week 1 arrives, the 2019 NFL MVP won’t even discuss a new deal with the franchise.

The Ravens find themselves in a familiar position. Just like last summer, the franchise badly wants to sign its franchise quarterback to a long-term deal. While Jackson is more than happy to sign a contract that will make him one of the highest paid NFL players, he isn’t in a rush like other top quarterbacks.

  • Lamar Jackson stats (2021: 2,882 passing yards, 16-13 TD-INT, 87.0 QB rating, 767 rushing yards

Appearing on the Pat McAfee Show, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network shared that the Kyler Murray contract is viewed as the floor for Jackson. Fortunately, per the league insider, it’s a mark the Ravens are willing to surpass.

“From what I understand the Ravens are willing to give Lamar Jackson more than what Kyler Murray got.”

Ian Rapoport on Baltimore Ravens contract offer to Lamar Jackson

It’s certainly an improvement from the below-market offers Jackson received from Baltimore early in the process. If the organization is willing to surpass Murray’s contract, that means the total average annual value of the contract would be worth more than $46 million and that would make Jackson one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in NFL history.

Related: Baltimore Ravens ‘mystified’ by lack of progress on Lamar Jackson extension

However, the odds of the two sides agreeing to a multi-year pact seem extremely slim.

Why a Lamar Jackson contract extension is unlikely in 2022

NFL: Baltimore Ravens Training Camp
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Negotiations between the Ravens and Jackson were complicated long before the 2022 offseason. The All-Pro quarterback doesn’t have an agent, instead working with his mom and a legal team to handle negotiations. Without single representation to work on back-and-forth talks with the franchise, it puts everything on hold during the regular season in order to let Jackson focus on football.

There’s an additional factor at play. Jackson recognizes the financial trajectory that has helped quarterback Kirk Cousins become one of the top-paid players in recent years. By playing out consecutive seasons on the franchise tag, Cousins earned guaranteed money and then parlayed that into a massive contract in free agency.

  • Lamar Jackson contract: $23.016 million guaranteed (2022), 2023 free agent

That is something with a lot of appeal to Jackson. He can play out the next two seasons on the exclusive franchise tag, earning him more than $70 million fully guaranteed through 2024. After that, he would become a free agent with a third consecutive tag being far too cost-prohibitive for any NFL franchise.

Related: Top NFL free agents of 2023 – Lamar Jackson, Deebo Samuel lead the charge

Baltimore can also blame the Cleveland Browns for the current situation. The Deshaun Watson contract, a historic extension worth $230 million guaranteed, provided Jackson with a new market to hit. Like his fellow NFL star, Jackson wants his contract to be guaranteed. However, Watson is the only NFL player with that type of deal.

Ultimately, the latest contract offer from the Ravens likely isn’t going to be enough for a deal to get done. Jackson knows there is a fully-guaranteed contract in each of the next two seasons if he just lets things play out in 2023 and ’24. With so much leverage on his side, there is no incentive to rush into a deal.

As long as he stays healthy, something he has done before an unusual injury in 2021, Jackson should be in position to land the type of contract he wants. Fortunately for the Ravens, there is no reason to think Jackson will be playing for any other team in the years ahead.