The Baltimore Ravens are currently engaging in contract extension talks with former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. He’s joined by the likes of Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills star Josh Allen as members of the 2018 NFL Draft class eligible for extensions for the first time.
It’s not yet known whether the 24-year-old Jackson and his Ravens will be able to come to terms on a lucrative long-term extension ahead of the start of the 2021 NFL season. Taking part in Baltimore’s voluntary organized team activities this week, Jackson touched on the topic briefly.
“I would love to be here forever. I love Baltimore. I love the whole organization,” Lamar Jackson said, via the Ravens’ official Twitter account. “I love everybody in the building. But hopefully, we’ll be making something happen pretty soon.”
It appears that Jackson is indeed confident that a long-term deal will be reached this offseason. Right now, the same thing can’t be said for either Mayfield or Mr. Allen.
Coming off a two-year span that saw him tally 76 total touchdowns against 15 interceptions en route to leading Baltimore to the playoffs twice, Jackson is obviously going to get paid big time. The Ravens already picked up his $23 million option for the 2022 season — meaning that Baltimore is committed to the 2019 NFL MVP. Here’s a look at three reasons why something will get done this offseason.
2022 NFL salary cap will impact Lamar Jackson contract talks
It was noted on Wednesday that the cap ceiling for the 2022 season will be set at $208.2 million. If said ceiling is met, it would represent an increase of $25.7 million from the 2021 campaign — the single-highest jump in NFL history.
You can bet that this will impact extension negotiations between star players and their organizations leading up to Week 1 in September. Jackson and the Ravens will not be any different. For Baltimore, getting something done sooner rather than later would make the most sense from a market and financial standpoint.
NFL quarterback market and the risk of waiting
The Dallas Cowboys are a prime example of the ever-evolving quarterback market continuing to reset itself on a never-ending loop. They pushed back against signing Dak Prescott to a contract extension for over a calendar year before handing him a four-year, $160 million back in March. This came after Prescott suffered a potentially career-altering ankle injury during the 2020 season.
Why use this as an example? The longer Baltimore waits to sign Lamar Jackson to an extension, the more it is going to have to pay the star quarterback long-term. If either Mayfield or Allen agree to a new deal beforehand, that would be magnified further.
Lamar Jackson is the Baltimore Ravens’ franchise
Leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, there was some ridiculous speculation that Baltimore might look to draft an heir-apparent to Jackson and trade the quarterback. The idea behind this was to get another young signal caller on a rookie deal, helping the Ravens’ long-term cap health. That’s about as absurd as it gets.
After just three NFL seasons, Jackson has more than proven himself to be among the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s posted a 30-7 record in 37 career starts, is the first signal caller to tally more than 1,000 rushing yards in consecutive seasons and is about as dynamic as it gets.
Even if Jackson is looking at north of $40 million annually on a long-term deal, it would behoove the Ravens to get it done now. Waiting would only increase the risk of a larger payout for the quarterback and some potential internal drama.