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Lamar Jackson contract extension: Winners and losers from historic deal

The saga is finally over. Lamar Jackson has not only signed a contract to quarterback the Baltimore Ravens in 2023 but he’s agreed to a record-breaking extension making him the highest-paid player in the NFL.

Jackson’s contract is officially a five-year, $260 million agreement, with $185 million guaranteed. Instead of potentially changing teams or playing this year on the franchise tag, Jackson won’t be going anywhere, staying in Baltimore through the 2027 season, when he’ll be 30 years old.

We’ve heard it all over the past few years about Jackson’s pending free agency, but now those rumors can be put to rest. While the Ravens may never have had any other plans than for Jackson to QB the team, it’s hard not to think about how the 2019 MVP’s new contract extension impacts the league. But who are the biggest winners and losers from the Ravens getting their franchise QB under contract?

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Losers: Every NFL team without a franchise QB

We never see a player of Jackson’s caliber reach free agency in the NFL. Even the idea that a team could potentially simply sign a new face of the franchise is mind-boggling. When the Jackson trade rumors were flying, it was impossible not to imagine how Jackson would look in a different uniform.

Despite the NFL somehow uniformly agreeing not to chase after the electric dual-threat QB, the actual reality is that more teams would view Jackson as an improvement over their current signal-caller than teams who don’t have a need.

For teams who don’t have an established franchise QB, they all lose by Jackson coming off the board. This group includes Atlanta, Washington, Minnesota, San Francisco, and more.

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Winner: Joe Burrow’s bankroll

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Now that Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson have agreed to new contracts, Joe Burrow could be next. He’s heading into the 2023 season in the second-to-last year of his rookie contract, which is usually when we see teams reach an extension with their first-round picks.

We saw Hurts get $255 million. He’s made 34 starts but rose to fame in 2022, becoming the MVP runner-up, and helping the Philadelphia Eagles make a Super Bowl appearance. Well, Burrow may not have the dual-threat capabilities of either Hurts or Jackson, but he’s already been to the big game, plus an AFC Championship.

Expect Burrow’s contract to top Hurts, and top Jackson, making the Cincinnati QB the new highest-paid gunslinger in the NFL. It’s only a matter of time.

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Winners: Baltimore Ravens and their fanbase

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
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As much as they tried to bluff, the Ravens could not afford to let Jackson leave Baltimore. While the Ravens are historically known for their defense, Jackson has a chance to go down as the greatest Raven of all time. You can build a great defense, but having a game-changing quarterback like Jackson, who pretty much IS the team’s offense, will keep you in the running each and every year.

Sure, there are long-term durability concerns. He’s never made it through a full season, but he’s also only missed 12 games over four years. Are we freaking out too much about his injury history?

It’s football. This isn’t a non-contact sport. Players get hurt. We can’t plan for that. We can’t predict that; all you can do is try and take precautions.

Injuries are a part of the game. Teams shouldn’t worry too much about the factors they cannot control. Building a roster is all about acquiring talent, and Jackson happens to be one of the very best players in the game today. Re-signing him should have been a no-brainer from the start.

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Winners: Lamar Jackson and his mom (his agent)

NCAA Football: Heisman Trophy Presentation
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Much was made about the fact that Jackson doesn’t have an official player agent, opting to have his mom help with his contract negotiations dating back to his rookie deal. While rookie contracts are mostly set in stone, with very little to discuss, his second contract was much more involving.

In a constantly changing landscape where we see a new-highest-paid QB take over every time a player signs a contract, Jackson is the highest-paid. For now.

Still, we heard so many critical remarks about concerns over Jackson’s ability to stay healthy, possibly giving the Ravens second thoughts about the fully guaranteed amount. But a $185 million paycheck suggests Baltimore has zero concerns about Jackson leading the charge from start to finish.

In the end, everyone involved with the Ravens wins. That especially includes Jackson, his mom, and the fanbase, who won’t have to worry about a future without the breathtaking scrambler.

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