Talks of a new contract for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson continue to dominate the headlines surrounding the team. That’s understandable considering how the former NFL MVP is the key to the Ravens’ success. Jackson’s importance was further emphasized by Baltimore’s four-game losing streak without him in the lineup.

   So far, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is the only signal caller from the 2018 draft to get an extension. Allen signed a six-year contract extension worth $258 million last August. Baker Mayfield’s divorce from the Cleveland Browns is inevitable and Sam Darnold has meanwhile been traded from the New York Jets to the Carolina Panthers who appear to be moving on from him as well.

   Meanwhile, Jackson is playing this year on the fifth-year option despite his team experiencing arguably the most success out of all quarterbacks from the 2018 class. Jackson is set to make $23 million on the fifth-year option this year.

   A new deal for Jackson should easily reach a similar value to the five-year, $230 million deal the Brown’s agreed to with Deshaun Watson after they acquired him in a trade with the Houston Texans.

   The Ravens have full intentions of signing Jackson. 

   “I hope so, at some point, that we will. I think we’ve discussed this at length, and I said this before: We will work at Lamar’s [Jackson] urgency. So, he and I have had ongoing discussions,” general manager Eric DeCosta said at the Combine last month.

   “He’s a guy that when we think about the Ravens three, four, five years from now, we envision Lamar being a very, very big part of that team and definitely a player that can help us win Super Bowls.”

   Jackson has received criticism for not having an agent which is supposedly complicating the negation process. The pace isn’t going the way it may be expected. But according to a recent report by Mike Florio of Pro Football it’s because Jackson’s focus is elsewhere.

   “At the start of the season, the story was that he was too focused on football,” Florio wrote. “After the season, the story was that he was too focused on getting healthy. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Jackson has told the Ravens that he’s currently too focused on having his best possible year and that he doesn’t want to do a deal until the 2022 season is over.”

   Florio went on to say that he sees a possibility for Jackson to play on the franchise tag in each of the next two seasons. 

   “Fifth-year option in 2022. Franchise tag in 2023. If the salary cap increases by, say, 15 percent this year, the franchise tag for quarterbacks will be in the range of $34 million in 2023. If so, he’d get $40.8 million in 2024. Combine that with the $23 million he’ll make this year, and that’s a three-year payout of $97.8 million. Given the current quarterback market, that’s not a bad deal for Baltimore,” Florio explained. 

   A three-year payout worth $97.8 million pales in comparison to the five-year, $258 million total that Allen is set to make or the $230 million over five years that Watson inked last month. Neither Allen nor Watson have an MVP to their name like Jackson does. Unlike Jackson, neither Allen nor Watson have led the league in touchdown passes either.

   Jackson’s focus on winning is admirable but the time is now for getting a deal done.

Tyler Hamilton
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