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Baltimore Ravens don’t expect Lamar Jackson contract talks to impact the QB

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is eligible for a contract extension for the first time in his career this offseason. The former NFL MVP has opened up about contract talks recently, noting that he’d love to be in Baltimore “forever.”

Despite this, things seem to be slow going on this front. Perhaps, the Ravens want to see how the situations play out with fellow 2018 NFL Draft class members Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. They could also want to see how Jackson performs in 2021 after a down season (by his standards) in 2020.

In any event, Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban doesn’t expect contract talks to distract Lamar Jackson moving forward.

“I don’t think it’ll be a distraction,” Urban told reporters Wednesday, via ESPN. “I don’t think he worries about that. He seems to be the same old guy that he is all the time. So I don’t really have many concerns there.”

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A first-round pick back in 2018, Jackson is slated to earn a base salary of $1.77 million this coming season. That number increases to a whopping $23.02 million in 2022 after Baltimore picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

Will a Lamar Jackson contract get done this offseason?

Lamar Jackson contract after Kolton Miller extension
Jan 16, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) drops back to pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter of an AFC Divisional Round game at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

That’s the million-dollar question right now. Jackson, 24, is coming off a three-year span to start his career that saw the former Louisville standout record nearly 10,000 total yards to go with 87 total touchdowns against 18 interceptions en route to leading Baltimore to a 30-7 record in 37 starts.

The former NFL MVP dealt with a bout of COVID-19 during the 2020 season and has talked about just how much it impacted him on the field. That could have played a role in terms of the regression we saw.

Regardless, any new Lamar Jackson contract would likely come in at roughly $40 million annually. He’d join Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes in that exclusive company.

The larger question here is when an extension might get done. Baltimore faces the possibility of the market resetting itself should Allen come to terms on an extension with the Buffalo Bills. By waiting, the Ravens would certainly be taking a chance here.

It also makes sense for Baltimore to get this done sooner rather than later with the NFL salary cap set to balloon big time in 2023 after seeing a major downtick due to COVID-19 this past season.

If the Ravens are able to lock Jackson in a long-term deal this offseason, they wouldn’t have much of an issue seeing an increase in his cap number in 2022 before the cap itself increases more the following year. If the quarterback market resets itself, that long-term team-friendly impact would likely be thrown out the window.

Either way, Lamar Jackson is not going to let it impact his performance in 2021. He’s looked extremely good during early offseason activities and is leading a roster that could very well compete with the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs in the conference this coming season.