Lamar Jackson has passed on the Baltimore Ravens’ latest contract extension offer and will play out the final year of his current contract.
On Friday, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta announced that the team and their starting quarterback — who currently represents himself in contract talks — could not come to terms on a new long-term extension ahead of the start of the NFL regular season on Sunday afternoon.
Earlier in the week, the 25-year-old set a Friday deadline for contract discussions after the two sides have been talking for months about a potential long-term deal. Obviously, negotiations failed and he will now earn $23 million in 2022 and look to increase his value in the final year of his deal. In a tweet following the news, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter added that Jackson is “expected to be franchise tagged after this season.” As of today, the franchise tag value for a quarterback is $45.458 million.
The risk-and-reward in Lamar Jackson betting on himself
There is much to gain for the former NFL MVP by playing out the final season of his contract. Without a shadow of a doubt, Jackson is hoping to become the highest-paid QB in the game. While it is unlikely he will get close to Aaron Rodgers and the near $50 million annually he stands to make from the Green Bay Packers, the next best thing would be something near the $230 million the Cleveland Browns guaranteed to suspended signal-caller Deshaun Watson.
- Lamar Jackson contract: $26 million 2022 (final year of contract)
Nevertheless, there is a serious risk in Jackson playing a season without the safety net of a contract next year. QB certainly does not take the consistent hits of other positions, but there is just as great a risk of career-altering injuries occurring. Based on sports history, Jackson is likely to have a massive season in 2022 and build up his value to absurd levels. However, if he incurred an injury that knocked him out for several games, or hampered his production throughout, it would severely damage his negotiating leverage and make him wish he took the Ravens’ offer when he had the chance.
- Lamar Jackson stats (2021): 2,882 passing yards, 767 rushing yards, 18 total touchdowns, 13 interceptions
It will be a fascinating story to watch this season.