Ravens, Jackson Far Apart On Extension?

John Harbaugh said the Ravens will explore an extension with Lamar Jackson either this year or next. It looks like the sides are already talking.

The Ravens and their MVP quarterback have begun discussing a new deal, but Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes the sides are far apart at this juncture. Jackson, who became extension-eligible in January, is due just a $1.77MM base salary in 2021. The Ravens will surely pick up his fifth-year option by May, locking him down through 2022.

Since taking the reins of Baltimore’s offense midway through his rookie season, Jackson has played the centerpiece role in the team’s ascent in that time. The Ravens missed the playoffs from 2015-17, and while they have assembled high-end defenses during Jackson’s years, his historically elite rushing talents and improvement as a passer have re-established the team as an AFC power. Some factors could work against a Jackson deal being done soon, though.

While it would make sense for Jackson to secure an extension ahead of making that low-end base salary this season, a few recent quarterback re-ups have gone quite poorly. Carson Wentz and Jared Goff both regressed after signing big-ticket extensions ahead of their fourth seasons. They are now on other teams, with the trades forcing the Eagles and Rams to eat record-setting dead-money sums. A clear Jackson peer, Deshaun Watson has requested a trade less than six months after signing a $39MM-per-year Texans extension. That development figures to at least give teams pause. On the other end of this, the Cowboys’ near-two-year run of negotiations with Dak Prescott has driven up the QB’s price immensely.

Watson’s deal would make sense as a floor for Jackson, even though the former has shown far more as a passer to this point. The imminent salary cap reduction has long been expected to be a one-year blip, and the anticipated run of TV deals should do plenty to boost the 2022-and-beyond caps. Jackson and Josh Allen stand to benefit. And the Bills’ talks with their quarterback, expected this year, will pertain to Jackson. Allen has not offered as much consistency as Jackson, though the Buffalo passer rocketed onto his 2018 draft classmate’s level with a dominant 2020 season. Both QBs entering their fourth seasons will tie together their respective negotiations.

The Ravens have already extended two other cornerstone players — Ronnie Stanley and Marlon Humphrey — but they have a key issue at edge rusher to navigate soon. Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue are free agents; so are two key backups. Baltimore also has an extra year to negotiate with Jackson; the team does not have that luxury with Mark Andrews, a third-round pick entering a contract year. Jackson, though, represents this puzzle’s biggest piece. His talks with the Ravens will be a key NFL matter in the coming weeks/months.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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20 comments on “Ravens, Jackson Far Apart On Extension?

  1. vtncsc

    Lamar is not on Watsons level for a long term deal. I can’t see the Ravens doing that.

  2. Jcool90

    What has Watson done? What Lamar done? We need need a QB and that’s our answer, but if he thinks should be better or 200mm. Get em outta here. Jk

  3. Tatsumaki

    Lamar sucks, glorified just like mike vick. Unwarranted ravens should trade him for Watson a real talent worthy of a large contract

    • dan55

      Yeah, Lamar is totally overrated!! It’s not like he has won an MVP award or anything. Smh.

      However I would definitely trade him for Watson.

    • mcmillankmm

      I don’t know that Vick ever had a season like Lamar’s but regardless seeing all the QB activity that’s taken place over the last month and what will still happen I would be hesitant to give Lamar a $35-38M AAV deal

      • Ak185

        Ehhh I’d argue that Vick was actually a better passer, but the similarity between the two warrants some comparison. Michael Vick today is much more mature than his days in Atlanta, so in comparison to that Michael Vick Jackson does have the advantage of being more cognizant of his need to improve and the obvious advantage of being less of a risk to be involved in illegal activities.

        Jackson has said on multiple occasions that he needs to improve from the pocket, and I think that he does recognize the reasoning as to why that’s so important (unlike Vick who really only embraced that in Philly after a while out of football entirely). That said, I do not think that Jackson is worth that Watson level contract just yet. He is trustworthy and smart, but the risk of injury with his playstyle and the need for improvement as a passer limit the value of his deal.

        • BertMacklin

          I love when people say Lamar isn’t the passer Vick was. Lamar’s 2 full seasons were both better than Vick’s best passing season. Vick threw over 60% comp only once as a starter and his td high in a season was only 21. Vick’s top QBR was only 65, Lamar has had 83 and 73 in his two full seasons. I think you guys remember a very different Mike Vick than the one you actually saw.

          • Ak185

            You make the argument by looking at the passing yards per game. Jackson doesn’t throw as much (which I assume would be the counter-argument) because he only throws simple routes. Vick severely outpaced him in passing yards per game for most of his career, and it was harder to complete passes even in the late 2000s than it is today.

            I’d also argue that Jackson has a better organization and a system completely built around him, more than any QB that we’ve seen. And, after all that being said, I would argue as a follow-up that in order for Jackson to succeed, they need to slowly open up and change that playbook as he himself develops his pocket persona. Vick lost years of his prime football years due to off-the-field decisions. Jackson, on the other hand, has the ability to continue his football development and end up a much better passer and overall player than Vick, with the full backing of his organization and a better head coach. He is not there yet, though.

  4. MileHighFan

    Lamar probably thinks he’s a $39 million a year guy, but that number isn’t going to work under the current cap. If he waits for the new TV deals to take effect then maybe they can work that out.

  5. bradthebluefish

    I like Jackson but I wouldn’t sign him just yet. This is still an unproven offense. If he slows up as he ages, this who thing is doomed.

  6. mcmillankmm

    Lamar should be conscious of what he’s seeing with those other big deals, of course he wants to get paid but once you take those monster deals there is only so much left in cap space for your other playmakers and linemen.

    • crosseyedlemon

      No one is lining up to pay RBs $35MM per season and the injury risk to option type QBs is too high to make such an investment.

      • BertMacklin

        The only people who think he’s an injury risk haven’t seen him play enough.

  7. sports is life

    Tom Brady throughout his career left money for other play makers

    Give Lamar 40 so he can throw the ball then run down field and catch it bc you won’t have money for great receivers

  8. bigeasye

    I’m purely curious if the buyers recourse cases in Goff and wentz as well as Watson situation will impact QB negotiations going forward. Any way you slice it, paying a QB not named Mahomes over 20% of your cap is a tough way to build your franchise

  9. jessaumodesto

    In a day and age with airplanes, private jets, trains and cars there’s no excuse for not being able to get closer to an individual and have them sign paperwork. We also have programs like Docusign where you don’t even have to be in the same room to have someone sign. Get with the 20th century Ravens!

  10. mgrap84

    Don’t fricking sign him and waste money. Sign our key players. You still have 2 years and the tag. Get played that are going to help us now. Not waste a bunch of money on a QB that can’t get us to the SB. Make him earn it. I love Lamar but I’m not giving him a ton of money to keep losing in the playoffs

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