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Lamar Jackson reportedly receiving low contract offers from Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens have made it clear for more than a year they want to sign quarterback Lamar Jackson to a long-term deal. Based on the latest report of contract offers being made, we might not see an agreement for a while.

Jackson didn’t want to discuss an extension during the 2021 season, focused on the games ahead and preparing with his teammates. Operating without an agent also created another hurdle that led to little progress made in negotiations throughout the year.

  • Lamar Jackson career stats (passing): 64.1% completion rate, 84-31 TD-INT, 98.1 QB rating, 37-12 record

Baltimore seemingly hoped for that to change this offseason. However, there is still no urgency on Jackson’s side. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, the 25-year-old quarterback is reportedly willing to play out the 2022 season and even play under the franchise tag in 2023.

This certainly might come as a surprise, given many of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL are making $40-plus million per season on new deals. Coming off a season-ending ankle injury, there would be a reason for Jackson to secure a huge contract right now. But it seems Baltimore isn’t presenting an offer of that size.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Ravens aren’t presenting an offer in the $40-45 million per year range. Instead, the franchise is submitting five-year proposals worth much closer to $35 million on an annual basis.

  • Lamar Jackson rushing stats (career): 3,673 rushing yards, 21 rushing touchdowns, 224 first downs

Why the Ravens should increase their Lamar Jackson contract offer

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Take a look around the NFL and you’ll find teams desperate for a quarterback. Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson are likely staying with their teams. Meanwhile, the Deshaun Watson legal situation won’t be resolved until April. It leaves clubs forced to settle for the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo on the trade market.

As for the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, talent evaluators aren’t convinced there is a quarterback ready to start as a rookie. Malik Willis offers Pro Bowl upside, but he might also require two years to develop before seeing game action. When teams look at NFL free agency, their best options are Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater and the suddenly ‘attractive target’ Mitch Trubisky.

The Ravens have one of the best, young quarterbacks in the NFL. That’s only looking at Jackson’s on-field impact. He is also the face of the franchise, responsible for generating tremendous revenue with the help of a top-selling jersey.

Baltimore might argue that $35 million per season puts Jackson ahead of Rodgers ($33.5 million) and on the same tier as Wilson. However, both quarterbacks will be signing new contracts within the next year worth at least $43-plus million. So, that leaves Jackson in a tier with Jared Goff ($33.5 million), Kirk Cousins ($33 million) and Carson Wentz ($32 million). None of those quarterbacks match Jackson’s skill level, marketability, upside or ability to carry a team.

The Ravens are taking a dangerous approach. A franchise tag for Jackson will likely cost more than $35 million next season and tagging him twice will push that figure even higher by 2024. While $40 million is a significant chunk to pay a quarterback with Jackson’s frame, he’s often demonstrated an ability to protect himself.

If the front office isn’t careful, it could find itself spending the next decade looking for a quarterback like Jackson after he leaves. That could lead to this team alternating between replacement-level passers and low-upside starters for years to come. Either that or they sign Jackson to a deal that might even look below market value by 2025.