Ravens To Explore Extension For Lamar Jackson

The Ravens were eliminated from the playoffs last night in a game that raised more questions than it answered about quarterback Lamar Jackson‘s ability to win in the playoffs. Although it appeared that Jackson had put that narrative to bed with his team’s victory over the Titans in last week’s wildcard round, the naysayers are back in full force following Baltimore’s loss to the Bills, which included a Jackson pick-six that turned what could have been a tied score or a 10-6 deficit into a 17-3 game.

Never mind that the game also featured a plethora of bad snaps from center Patrick Mekari, poor pass-blocking from the Ravens’ O-line, two missed field goals by the normally automatic Justin Tucker, and a dropped pass that set up the Bills’ first score. Never mind that offensive coordinator Greg Roman, whose passing game concepts and questionable play-calling undermine his strengths in the run game, seems to get outcoached against good teams. Never mind that Jackson’s best skill-position players are also playing on their rookie deals, and that Peyton Manning didn’t win his first playoff game until his sixth professional season.

Yes, Jackson still needs to improve as a passer. The pick-six was on him and was a devastating blow. But he won the league MVP last year, his age-22 season. He is a dynamic playmaker who has shown plenty of flashes of top-tier ability throwing the ball, even if he never becomes Manning in that regard. He posted nearly a 3:1 TD-to-INT ratio this year en route to a 99.3 quarterback rating, and he became the first QB in league history to rush for 1,000 yards in multiple seasons. He is also a high-character leader who has the full respect of his teammates, and there is reason to believe he will continue polishing his right arm.

The Ravens appear to agree, as they are expected to explore an extension for their young signal-caller this offseason, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link). That would seem to fall under the “no duh” category of NFL reports, but it’s worth noting nonetheless. Baltimore GM Eric DeCosta has made it a point to be proactive with extensions for key players, and locking up Jackson in a year when the salary cap will decrease or remain the same could be to the Ravens’ advantage.

As Rapoport notes, Jackson represented himself when negotiating his rookie deal, and it remains to be seen if he will hire an agent before discussions about his second contract commence. One way or another, it would seem that Deshaun Watson‘s re-up with the Texans is the best comp. Watson’s extension was a four-year add-on worth $156MM (a $39MM AAV) and featured $73MM guaranteed at signing. Look for Jackson’s new deal to include similar figures.

Assuming player and team do not have an extension in place by the deadline to exercise fifth-year options in May, that will obviously be a no-brainer decision for the Ravens. Jackson’s fifth-year option, which would go into effect for the 2022 season, would be fully guaranteed — since he is a member of the 2018 draft class — and would be worth about $25MM (as Albert Breer of SI.com notes on Twitter). But that will almost certainly be more of a placeholder than anything else, as a new deal should be consummated prior to the 2022 campaign.

The Ravens will have plenty of other contractual issues to hash out in the coming months. Pass rushers Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue are eligible for unrestricted free agency, and TE Mark Andrews and OT Orlando Brown may be seeking extensions of their own.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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27 comments on “Ravens To Explore Extension For Lamar Jackson

    • parx

      Lamar Jackson will not win a super bowl until he learns how to beat a zone defense, last night he couldn’t make quick decisions against buffalos zone, they took away quick slants and andrews in the seem and he struggled, he’s my favorite quarterback to watch right now but as is 1 leg injury ends his career, the pick he threw was Mitch trubiskyish he needs to spend all off season working on accuracy and quick decision making with throws and he can become one of the best ever

    • Jcool90

      Jackson has to learn how to become a better passer also bud. That is my team but, he doesn’t have a deep ball game.

    • sgord03

      I kind of feel the same due to his lack of arm. No one can deny his playmaking ability. Will be interesting, but he probably will get Watson money.

  1. afsooner02

    Lot of money to spend on a glorified RB that can’t win (much) in the post season.

    • You realize he’s only played three seasons and is 23 years old, yes? This whole ‘OMG he can’t win in the playoffs!!!’ narrative is manufactured, sub-Skip Bayless nonsense.

      His career is *just starting*. Give him a break. He was 0-2 in the playoffs as a 23 year old and people were saying he can’t win in the playoffs. Ridiculous. He’s now 1-3 after three years. One of the greatest QBs of all time, Peyton Manning, started his career 0-3 in the playoffs after three years, and things worked out just fine for him.

      I hate the Ravens, yet here I am defending Lamar Jackson.

      • Tatsumaki

        Easy to inflate stats in regular season, bad qbs get exposed in postseason much to our dismay jackson is 1-3 with loaded rosters….he’s not good and the sooner people realize he is michael vick the faster they can move onto a different qb that can help you win. Don’t be surprised to se Baltimore draft a qb

        • Ed "The Mythical One"

          He’s proven that when teams force him to be a passer, he can’t win.

        • king beas

          Lol the ravens drafting a qb?!?!? Might be the hottest take I’ve seen on this site

        • dorfmac

          “Loaded roster” – who does he have to throw to besides one trick pony brown and constantly double teamed Andrews?

      • Jcool90

        Facts, BUT I love BALTIMORE RAVENS. I live in MD. LOL but he’s an amazing player young but still wanted Allen that year. He’s the real deal but Lamar is project. I mean, if we had a true #1 WR or this never know. Buffalo wanted more. We will be there next year or the one after these are the teams for the next 8 plus years. Or longer in the AFC

  2. Ed "The Mythical One"

    Biased reporting much?

    Jackson has a superstar TE and one of the fastest men alive in Hollywood Brown for targets. He has three running backs that could start for other teams. He has a star LT and star RT protecting him.

    Not going to mention he fumbles the ball A LOT?

    He’s the captain of the ship on the field. If you are going to heap all the praise on him for the teams’ success and not acknowledge the other players that help make that happen, then you must dump all the criticism on him and not mention the other players that led to the failures.

    THAT is called fair and balanced.

    • Rory Parks

      Pretty sure I said he needs to improve as a passer. Not sure I’d call Orlando Brown a star, but in case you didn’t notice, Stanley only played in six games this year, and while Brown played well on the left side, the right side was a disaster when he had to move to LT. Center was a problem all year. Of course, every team has holes, and it’s up to Lamar to correct his issues. But there is no denying that Roman’s passing concepts are ineffective and predictable, and while I’m bullish on Hollywood, he has plenty of work of his own to do. Yes, Andrews is a great TE, but he can’t do it all. Jackson makes that team go with his arm and his legs, and his presence is a primary reason Dobbins and Edwards, talented though they may be in their own right, have been so effective. To suggest otherwise is illogical.

      • Black Ace57

        No offense, this article comes off more as something that would be written on SB Nation’s Ravens blog than a general even keel PFR article.

    • AndyMeyer

      That same Hollywood Brown who caught a whopping 58 passes for less than 800 yards this year?

      • afsooner02

        You’re proving his point….his QB is the reason his stats aren’t elite.

        • AndyMeyer

          That must be the reason. Or maybe it’s Hollywood Brown who just isn’t elite

    • AndyMeyer

      That same Hollywood Brown who caught a whopping 58 passes for less than 800 yards this year? That “top target”?

  3. RyanO

    Hey Rory you a BAL or Lamar Jackson fan? I couldn’t tell …. lol

    Fact of the matter is that until he can beat teams from the pocket he won’t win in the playoffs. There’s a reason why qbs like him haven’t won the super bowl. Need to be able to throw outside to the numbers.

    Don’t blame Roman … always out coached against good teams? That pick 6 was terrible & cost them the game… Think Jackson can win just needs to work on those outside throws to keep teams honest.

  4. Black Ace57

    The difference between Jackson and players like Watson or Mahomes who recently got deals is that he runs too much. Please tell me one mobile QB who had a long and healthy career. The only name you could possibly bring up is Cam Newton and there has been no other mobile QB who has matched his size. I guess you could say Russel Wilson, but he was a proven playoff winner almost from the start.You can’t afford to pay a QB that kind of money on that long of a deal to be injured on the bench or choking in the playoffs.

    • dorfmac

      Do you think Watson is worth the money? He’s been injured tearing both his ACLs. And he hasn’t won a single playoff game in his career. By your definition, the answer is no.

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