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Baltimore Ravens to ‘restart’ Lamar Jackson contract negotiations in 2023

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has missed four NFL games this season with a PCL injury after missing five games in 2021. Despite the increasing problems with his durability, the Ravens remain committed to making him one of the highest-paid NFL players in 2023.

When healthy, Jackson remains one of the best NFL quarterbacks. In spite of a supporting cast that is widely viewed as insufficient for the face of the franchise, Baltimore’s quarterback continues to play at a high level.

  • Lamar Jackson stats (2022): 59.5 QBR (10th in NFL, 17-7 TD-INT, 764 rush yards

However, his future with the organization is one of the biggest NFL storylines in 2023. Jackson is eligible to become a free agent this sprint, but Baltimore will likely prevent that by applying the exclusive franchise tag on him.

Related: NFL insider suggests trade increasingly possible for Lamar Jackson

As a result, with the NFL salary cap skyrocketing, Jackson is projected to make more than $40 million next season. Using the franchise tag ensures the former NFL MVP won’t hit the open market, but it doesn’t erase the uncertainty for his future.

According to Mike Preston of The Baltimore Sun, the Ravens plan to restart contract negotiations with Jackson early in 2023. It comes months after the Pro Bowl quarterback put off any negotiations until he finished the 2022 season.

Will the Baltimore Ravens extend Lamar Jackson in 2023?

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Washington Football Team
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Finding a resolution will prove difficult. The Cleveland Browns made things far more complicated by signing Deshaun Watson to a $230 million fully-guaranteed contract. Jackson boasts a better resume and doesn’t have any off-field issues, factors that should work in his favor as opposed to what Watson had on his resume when he signed his deal.

  • Lamar Jackson contract: $23.016 million (2023), 2024 free agent

When Jackson and the Ravens held contract dialogue this past offseason, Baltimore wasn’t willing to entertain the idea of a fully-guaranteed contract. Durability worries played a significant role in that and the organization’s concerns will certainly be even more prevalent after Jackson missed nine games in the past two years.

Related: Baltimore Ravens ‘mystified’ by lack of Lamar Jackson contract talks

Considering the sizable gap the two sides have in what they are offering one another, it remains unlikely a deal is signed in 2023. There will be plenty of rumors detailing the contract talks and Baltimore’s interest in getting a deal signed.

However, Jackson’s approach to this situation is evident. He seems prepared to play in 2023 on the franchise tag, which is fully guaranteed. He would then likely be tagged for the second consecutive year in 2024, pushing him to a salary approaching $50 million. If he stays healthy, then Jackson would become an unrestricted free agent in 2025 and using the franchise tag for the third consecutive time would be far too cost-prohibitive for the Ravens.