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Skepticism that Lamar Jackson contract extension will get done

Vincent Frank

Star Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson set a Week 1 deadline to sign a contract extension with the team after a contentious offseason between the two sides.

The former NFL MVP had previous displayed optimism that something could get done on this front after Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray netted a massive extension himself.

We’re now not so sure. Fresh off reports that Jackson is looking for Deshaun Watson-type guarantees comes this report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. The NFL insider noted that those around the league are skeptical that something will in fact get done.

“Some of the people I’m talking to around the league are a bit skeptical this can get done because there’s going to be a gap in guaranteed money. It’s believed that Lamar Jackson wants a very strong guarantee structure.

And he has a blueprint with Deshaun Watson and what Watson did with a fully-guaranteed $230 million deal. Now, I’m told the Ravens have been trying to bridge the gap in recent weeks ever since that Kyler Murray deal went down in Arizona.”

JEremy Fowler report on lamar jackson contract situation (h/t Bleacher REport)

As noted in the report, Watson got $230 million fully guaranteed in his extension with the Cleveland Browns after being aquired in a blockbuster trade with the Houston Texnas during the spring.

As for Murray, he received a five-year, $230.5 million extension from Arizona that called for a mere $104.3 million fully guaranteed at signing.

Related: Lamar Jackson and NFL’s top QBs of 2022

Lamar Jackson contract situation to drag out

Lamar-Jackson-Baltimore-Ravens
Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

This latest report makes it clear that Jackson will enter Week 1 against the New York Jets as a proverbial lame duck. He’s slated to hit free agency in 2023, but will likely find himself off the market with Baltimore boasting the right to franchise tag the former first-round pick.

Jackson’s salary for the 2022 season makes him the 17th highest-paid QB in the NFL on a per-year basis. Despite a down 2021 campaign, he’s more than outplayed said contract.

The question here is value. Those around the NFL were upset that Cleveland handed Watson a fully-guaranteed contract, especially given his off-field issues.

It stands to reason that Baltimore will not to the same thing with Jackson given the deal Murray received. That seems to be the crux of the issue right now between Jackson and the Ravens.

Lamar Jackson stats (2018-21): 64% completion, 9,967 passing yards, 3,673 rushing yards, 105 total TD, 31 INT

There’s always a chance that Jackson simply want to see the 2022 season play out and bet on himself. He put up a career-worst performance in 2021 and might not be at the top of his value.

The likes of Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert will be eligible for extensions next spring for the first time. If Jackson lets them reset the quarterback market as we know it, he could be looking for a more lucrative pay day.

This plan would come with a risk. If Jackson suffers a serious injury or doesn’t rebound from last season’s performance, he would be out tens of millions. Such is the nature of the beast in the rapidly-evolving NFL QB market.

There’s also a chance that Jackson simply opts to sit out to start the season. He previously would not commit to playing Week 1 against the Jets without a new contract in hand. Though, that possibility seems unlikely given he reported to both mandatory minicamp and training camp. It is, however, somethint to watch.