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Baltimore Ravens ‘mystified’ by lack of Lamar Jackson contract talks, why he is holding off

Matt Johnson
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is focused on preparing for the 2022 NFL season, taking the necessary steps to improve so his team can contend for the Super Bowl. While Jackson remains entrenched in his dedication to the present, it seems the Ravens are baffled by his disinterest in securing his future.

Jackson wants to be the face of the Ravens’ franchise for years to come. However, Baltimore finds itself in the same position for the second consecutive offseason. The front office keeps pushing to sign Jackson to a multi-year extension, one that would make him one of the highest paid NFL players. Based on multiple reports, Jackson is only focused on football.

  • Lamar Jackson contract: $23.016 million salary (2022)

After skipping voluntary workouts, the 2019 NFL MVP reported for mandatory minicamp and took part in practice with teammates. When facing reporters, though, Jackson said get expects to spend his career in Baltimore, but he also wouldn’t commit to his interest in signing a long-term deal this summer.

On the You Pod to Win the Game podcast, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports shared some insight into how the Ravens’ front office is feeling about the lack of contract talks with Jackson.

Related: Lamar Jackson contract extension unlikely in 2022

“The Ravens, I can tell you are mystified. They’re just…they don’t understand the lack of engagement on a contract.”

It’s easy to understand Baltimore’s perspective. It wants the security of knowing Jackson is under contract through the next five-plus seasons, providing clarity for the team’s long-term salary-cap projections and roster building.

  • Lamar Jackson stats (2021): 2,882 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, 767 rushing yards

However, the Ravens’ objectives and the desire of their star quarterback shouldn’t be lined up right now and the front office should recognise the rationale behind it.

Related: NFL executives monitor Lamar Jackson contract situation for potential trade

Why Lamar Jackson isn’t pushing for a contract extension

Syndication: The Tennessean
Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jackson doesn’t need an agent certified by the NFL Players Association to recognize what is going on in the National Football League. Revenue is skyrocketing thanks to TV rights contracts that will generate more than $100 billion over the next decade and that’s just part of the league’s yearly income.

The Denver Broncos just sold for $4.65 billion, a sign of just how profitable billionaire investors believe this league is and will continue to be. Barring another COVID-19 pandemic or a rare economic collapse that actually impacts professional sports, player salaries will keep climbing in the years ahead.

Jackson is worth at least $40-plus million annually right now and that’s coming off an injury-plagued season. If he elevates his game this fall and the Ravens go on a playoff run, his value will skyrocket even further.

Not wanting to lose one of the best players in the NFL, Baltimore will apply the franchise tag to Jackson. It will provide him with $30-plus million guaranteed next year once he signs it. After playing out the franchise tag in 2023, a second consecutive tag would mandate at least $42 million for Jackson in 2024.

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All of that is before Russell Wilson, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert begin negotiating their new contract extensions within the next 15 months. By that point, the salaries for the best quarterbacks in the NFL will climb been higher.

Jackson is likely going to make the Ravens negotiate against themselves, playing out each of the next three seasons on the equivalent of a one-year contract each time. By the time he reaches free agency in 2025, with a third franchise tag far too cost-prohibitive for Baltimore to use, Jackson will likely land a four- or five-year contract worth at least $50 million annually. The Ravens might not like it, but Jackson is playing out his leverage perfectly.

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