Lamar Jackson is looking to become one of the highest-paid NFL players ever. After failing to agree to terms on a contract extension with the Baltimore Ravens, the 2019 NFL MVP is hoping to find the contract he wants on the open market.
The expectation around the league has been that Jackson wants a fully-guaranteed contract. When the Cleveland Browns signed quarterback Deshaun Watson to a five-year deal worth $230 million fully guaranteed, it was viewed as the mark that Jackson wanted to meet in his next contract.
- Lamar Jackson stats (2022): 59.1 ESPN QBR (9th), 17-7 TD-INT, 764 rushing yards
A fully-guaranteed contract is viewed as a non-starter for a majority of the league. After Watson signed his deal, NFL executives blasted the Browns. One of Baltimore’s top executives even admitted ownership knew there would be complications at the negotiating table with Jackson once Watson landed the fully-guaranteed contract.
However, it appears there has been a slight exaggeration about the type of deal the two-time Pro Bowl selection wants. While the 26-year-old does want to become one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in NFL history
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Jackson isn’t demanding a fully-guaranteed contract. Instead, he is seeking out a multi-year deal worth more than $230 million guaranteed.
If Jackson is seeking to sign a contract with the highest amount of guaranteed money in NFL history, it eliminates several alternatives some have suggested. He could’ve signed a three- or four-year contract worth more than $45 million per season and a large percentage of it guaranteed. However, that wouldn’t put him within the range of $230 million in total value, let alone guaranteed.
Signing a short-term deal would allow Jackson to test free agency again while he’s still in his prime, taking advantage of the skyrocketing NFL salary cap. However, his reported contract demands would only make a long-term deal possible.
It’s still highly unlikely that Jackson finds an NFL team willing to sign him to a contract worth $200 million guaranteed. With no suitors pursuing him in free agency, his only options are taking Baltimore’s best offer or sitting out until Week 10 before signing the non-exclusive franchise tag.