There’s been a lot made about the Lamar Jackson contract situation and what it means for the Baltimore Ravens heading into the 2022 season.
The former NFL MVP is set to enter the final year of his rookie deal. There’s been no real substantive talks between the organization and Jackson thus far this spring and summer. It has led to Jackson being away from voluntary organized team activities.
With Ravens mandatory minicamp set to get going on June 14, head coach John Harbaugh told the media on Wednesday that he expects Jackson to be in attendance.
A lot of the contract issues stem from Jackson’s side actually not wanting to discuss a new contract until after the 2022 season. Remember, the former first-round pick does not have a true agent. Instead, he’s relying on his mother being a big part of the business side of the game. In the past, this has led to some concern from those around the NFL.
Lamar Jackson contract situations is more complicated than others
It must be noted that the Ravens have not shown much concern as it relates to Jackson’s absence from previous off-season programs.
“The Ravens are not overly concerned because Lamar Jackson has promised to show up at some point. It might be for mandatory minicamp, but he’s going to be there. This is not contentious from what I’m hearing, and so they believe they’re still in a very good place with the player.”ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (May 29, 2022)
At issue here is Jackson’s status as an impending free agent. If he’s not looking to sign an extension this summer, it would lead to questions about the quarterback’s future in Baltimore during the 2022 season.
The very same report from Fowler indicates that the Ravens believe he wants to go “year-to-year.” That is to say, playing under the franchise tag in 2023 and 2024. For their part, the Ravens are not necessarily opposed to that given his “injury concerns” and “running style.”
- Lamar Jackson contract: $23.02 million base salary in 2022; free agent in 2023
The projected 2023 franchise tag value for quarterbacks in 2023 is expected to be $31.49 million. It would then increase a few million in 2024 — meaning that Jackson could be looking at what equates to a three-year deal worth roughly $90 million over this span. That’s below market value given what he’s done throughout his career.
- Lamar Jackson stats (2018-21): 64% completion, 9,967 passing yards, 3,673 rushing yards, 105 total TD, 31 INT, 98.1 QB rating
This would be the definition of Jackson betting on himself given how the quarterback market continues to reset itself on a near-monthly basis. Then again, it would practically enable him to hit free agency while he’s still only 27 if he plays under the tag for two seasons following the 2022 campaign.
Lamar Jackson and the NFL quarterback market
As noted above, this is a pretty big backdrop to what we’re seeing in Baltimore. Aaron Rodgers recently signed the most-lucrative contract in NFL history with his Green Bay Packers earlier in the offseason.
Embattled Cleveland Browns signal caller Deshaun Watson inked a fully-guaranteed five-year, $230 million extension with his new team during the spring. Of those two, Watson would be the best comparison to Lamar Jackson from an on-field perspective. It’s a different story off the field for obvious reasons.
Meanwhile, the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Derek Carr, Dak Prescott and Matthew Stafford are all earning $40 million or more annually on their current deals.
It’s certainly a complicated sitution for Jackson and his Ravens. At the very least, there’s confidence he’ll be ready to go when minicamp opens next week.