The NFL has evolved into a game that better suits superb athletes that play quarterback. Of course the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off of a Super Bowl win last season. But Tom Brady is an exception because he’s the best to ever do it.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is one of the league’s top athletes. His agility, quickness and speed jump off the screen when watching him. Opposing defenses have said they were shocked by his speed when they saw him in person for the first time. Jackson was only 23 years old when he was named the NFL MVP after the 2019 season. The Ravens have been in the postseason every year that Jackson has played for them. One would think Division titles, Super Bowl contention and an MVP season is what general managers want when they selected a quarterback in the first round.
Yet when it comes to thinking about a long-term contract for Jackson, a crazy idea was presented earlier this week. NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks took an unconventional approach when asked about the Ravens strategy approaching the draft.
Brooks suggested Baltimore should consider drafting Justin Fields and move on from Jackson instead of paying similarly to what other quarterbacks such as Josh Allen have gotten from their teams.
“They could take a collegiate approach to the quarterback position,” Brooks said. “They cash in on a blue chip, they take Justin Fields and then maybe they operate like a college team. “One quarterback graduates, the other quarterback steps into the starter’s role. You now have the opportunity to keep a starting quarterback potentially on a young deal, build up the rest of the assets, and then play smash-mouth football the way that they play and
continue to build a better team around the quarterback. It’s something to think about.”
The idea of moving on from Jackson is not one that the Ravens support. They wisely picked up his fifth-year option and have plans to keep him as their franchise cornerstone.
“He’s definitely going to be our quarterback. That’s the plan, absolutely,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said on the Rich Eisen show recently. “I feel like it all points to one thing and the thing he talks about all the time— he wants to win a Super Bowl.
“I think he’s a very unique guy. He’s a guy that’s different in a lot of ways than any quarterback that’s ever played. Lamar is somebody that just kind of breaks the mold a little bit. He does it in a way that a lot of people didn’t anticipate. They didn’t see this coming. He’s very determined—and we’re very determined— to prove those people wrong.”
Harbaugh has plenty of reason to feel this way about Jackson. Back in 2018, Harbaugh was on the hot seat, and made the decision to keep Jackson as the starting quarterback after he took over for an injured Joe Flacco. The Ravens responded and went 6-1 in Jackson’s seven starts that landed them in the playoffs. Jackson followed his rookie season with an MVP year that pushed Baltimore to a franchise best 14-2 season.
According to ESPN, Jackson’s 30 victories since taking over as a starter in 2018 are the most by any quarterback. He is also the first player to amass 5,000 passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards through the first three seasons. Jackson’s crafty response to Brooks’ idea of not paying him might be the best play the dynamic quarterback has made yet.
“Bucky, we can box a lil bit. I won’t buck,” Jackson said on social media. Jackson took the criticism in stride like he has always done.