Lamar Jackson provided the latest update to his contract standoff with the Ravens yesterday, revealing that he asked for a trade earlier this month. That could open the door even further to outside teams pursuing him, with many pointing to the Colts has a potential destination.
Owner Jim Irsay was asked about the subject during the league meetings, and his responses highlighted his hesitancy to commit to Jackson on the type of contract he is said to be seeking. To little surprise, Irsay noted the matter of guarantees as the primary obstacle with respect to the Colts attempting to secure the former MVP.
“For me, for the good of the game, boy, I don’t believe fully guaranteed contracts would be good for our game at all,” Irsay said, via Zak Keefer of The Athletic (subscription required). “I’ve seen what it’s done to other sports leagues and I just don’t think that it’s a positive… Our game is great and it’s great for a number of reasons, but I don’t think guaranteed contracts make our game greater, I think it makes it worse.”
Jackson has long been thought to be seeking a fully guaranteed deal similar to the one Deshaun Watson signed with the Browns last offseason (five years, $230MM). It has become clear – between QB extensions signed after that pact, and the tepid market Jackson has seen for potential offer sheets – that the rest of the NFL is intent of keeping the Watson accord an exception, rather than the start of a new trend.
As has been the case since Andrew Luck retired, Indianapolis is searching for a long-term answer at the QB spot. Irsay’s comments have made it clear that a repeat of the team’s veteran acquisitions (including Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan) should not be expected in 2023. The Colts own the No. 4 pick in the upcoming draft, but are likely to have seen two signal-callers come off the board by that point. Veteran Gardner Minshew represents a relatively high-upside backup, but he is not considered the Week 1 starter at this point.
That could steer the Colts towards an aggressive pursuit of Jackson. Irsay’s latest remarks confirmed that the door remains open to such action, though the impact of the financial commitment which will be necessary to secure the 26-year-old remains front of mind for him.
“It has nothing to do with actual dollars,” Irsay said. “I mean, paying a contact like that is not a problem… the issue is, what’s the right thing to do for the franchise, in terms of what helps us win in the long run? I mean, you need more than just a quarterback.”
Their draft situation could still lead the Colts to take the draft route to secure their next franchise signal-caller. With a tag-and-trade (rather than strictly an offer sheet) now firmly available as an option to acquire Jackson, however, Indianapolis remains a team to watch as his playing future unfolds.
61 comments on “Jim Irsay Addresses Potential Colts Lamar Jackson Pursuit”
Big Jim loves those guaranteed TV and stadium deals I bet though. Those may not be positive for the taxpayers
You can’t compare those to contracts for players. Totally different things.
Ya, heaven forbid an owner had to take part of his guaranteed profits to pay a player making those for him, a guaranteed salary. Guaranteed contracts would make the game better simply by making teams have to take responsability for making mistakes with signings. Cap adjustments with ghost years are already bad enough.
That really makes no sense. If all contracts were guaranteed it would not suddenly put a responsibility for mistakes on the teams.
Rich….of course it would. Baseball teams are stuck with bad contracts and are penalized for it….unless you’re the Dodgers or the Yankees. The Cincinnati Reds have half of their salary going to Moustakas, who no longer plays for the Reds, and Votto, who hit .205 last year. If it wasn’t for those salaries that toral 41 million, maybe they could afford to buy a few relievers
If every contract were guaranteed, you would expect to see smaller contracts to balance risk. Lamar had a chance at bigger contract and rejected it. His risk was betting on himself at that at least one more team would be as dumb as Cleveland. There are a lot of teams that can’t even consider him due to cap issues from having bought themselves a Buccaneer sized Super Bowl.
Injuries are a separate issue from being paid for non performance. Players and teams alike use the current contract structure to their benefit. Players can get a lot of upfront money while teams get the possibility of cutting a player late in the contract if they stop adding value. Go to Overthecap.com and check out how much dead cap space teams have. Keep checking throughout the season as players go to IR.
All sport leagues suffer the same problem, they’re paying players for what they’ve done in the past and a hope they might repeat it.
Before the rookie salary slotting, there were endless holdouts as rookies got bigger deals than vets. We still see rookie busts (Trey Lance) at least now, he’s not sitting on a $160M deal like he would have bee in the old rules.
A Salary system with a fixed base and performance incentives would smooth things out. In this manner performers get paid more than journeymen.
Are you really advocating for more of the same problems seen in Baseball? The Tigers have been paying a high salary to Cabrera for what he did 15+ years ago. The Reds have a similar issue as you point out. Everyone rightfully complains when they hear about the golden parachute of a corporate exec who has run a company into the ground, why perpetuate it?
So we should protect the owners from themselves? Who gave Votto a long contract? Who gave Cabrera a long contract. Contracts would be shorter if they were guaranteed. I think players would love having a fully guaranteed 2/3 year deal. Baseball is not in a mess because of guaranteed contracts, Baseball has a salary structure issue. This wouldn’t be solved if the contracts weren’t guaranteed. It’s only going to be solved if there is a cap. Pirates can’t compete with the Dodgers and Yankees when one team can spend 250 million a year and they can spend 50 million.
Guaranteed does not equate to shorter. Players want long term AND guaranteed for personal security. That’s fine, but that doesn’t mean anyone has to give them that.
How many times have you seen a player suddenly want to re-negotiate the long term deal either because they performed well, or someone else got a better deal. If they have truly performed well and there are enough indicators that there is more high level performance in the future, they might get a renegotiated deal, for the team it locks up a player and keeps them out of free agency.
I think that is the aspect that has hurt both basketball and baseball since a 20-year career is more common than in football.
There is more press given to the salary cap than the salary floor. I don’t know which leagues have the minimum spend, but it exists.
Signing bonus is where the financial ability of an owner to cut a giant check comes into play. While they’re all billionaires, not all of them can drop $60M on Y1 guarantees.
Players would not need a long term deal if the money was guaranteed. Take Orlando Brown deal. He signed a 4/64 with 31 guaranteed. Suppose he signs a 2/32 fully guaranteed. He’s still getting the same guaranteed money and the owners aren’t strapped with his dead cap in years 3 and 4. If Brown performs well, he gets another contract. That eliminates him sitting out and wanting an extension with more money. Baseball players never want to renegotiate or rarely
Don’t forget the infamous Bobby Bonilla deal..Mets still paying for it.
That was about owner cash flow. If any finance folks on here want to to PV analysis for when the deal was made to continue future payments, that would be interesting. Particularly with recent inflation.
Griffey Jr is the 3rd highest paid Red, he’s been retired since 2010, and hasn’t been a Red since 2008.
How are they different big John? A guaranteed contract is a guaranteed contract. There are risks involved.
The level of the risk alone makes it different. Comparing a TV contract to a player contract is like comparing stocks and bonds. Sure both are investments, but if you can’t see the difference, please get some help before making your investment portfolio.
Baseball does it. Basketball does it. Coaches have it. Medical advances have made career ending injuries rare. This is nothing more than the owners not wanting them because it’s better for their bottom line. Bally Sports contracts didn’t go so good for them. I hope more players get guaranteed contracts.
Many players have partially guaranteed contracts now. Considering the violence of football compared to other sports, not having totally guaranteed deals makes absolute sense. If Watson tears a knee up and is never the same, the Browns are toast.
When was the last time a quarterback messed up his knee and never came back? Burrow did great. Brady did great. Players come back from injuries all the time now.
Where did you specify only QBs? You’ve been comparing guaranteed contracts across several sports.
Ok. Any big invested player. There’s been older or marginal players that have reached injury settlements and left the game but in today’s medical advances, the players can come back. I’m not talking about 8 year guaranteed contracts.
Alex Smith. Joe Theismann. That’s just one team.
Coaches and players both have something called offsets in their contracts. Recently some of the rookie deals, though value based on slotting have been held up due to offset language.
For a refresher, if a player has guaranteed money left on their contract and gets cut, but picked up elsewhere, the team that cut the player is relieved of obligation by the amount the new signing team pays. Players don’t like this because without the offset, they can double dip, with it, they can get capped at what the team that cut them was obligated to pay via injury. This works on residual signing bonus too.
For coaches, which almost follows the the golden parachute of corporate execs, the offset kicks in such that if they take a certain job after termination the team that fired them gets relief. When Matt Patricia got sacked by Detroit, they still had to pay his contract. New England rehired him, but you noticed he never got a coordinator title. In this way, Detroit kept paying for his New England work. NE could work out a smaller salary with him to keep him employed in the NFL but allow the Lions to keep paying the majority of his earnings.
When a team like Cleveland or Denver have one and done coaches, the owner can find themselves in a cash flow situation if they are paying 3 people to be the head coach, the current and two failures.
Lamar is a guy with injury issues, has underperformed in the playoffs, and needs a team built a certain way with a certain offense. He really messed up not getting an agent to help him with this much earlier, maybe even last year. I think if it was a proven guy like Burrow in this situation it would be a lot harder to say no to a fully guaranteed deal. Don’t bring up the one MVP season that’s not enough to give a guy $200+ mil guaranteed with all the other issues.
Burrow has missed games in the last 3 years and hasn’t won a Super Bowl or an MVP. Does Herbert get paid? He’s done nothing
Burrow and Herbert won’t be receiving a guaranteed contract though. That’s the point. If Jackson has a lower ask then a deal would happen whether it’s with the Ravens or someone else.
They’re stupid if they don’t ask for one. I guarantee you that someone would give those guys a 5 year fully guaranteed salary contract
Maybe, but I guarantee we won’t see it
If they don’t receive a guaranteed contract that’s their fault. Because the teams will give them the contract, but not Lamar, even though the level of success is extremely close. Burrow has the edge, but Lamar has exceeded just about everything that Herbert has accomplished… (which is pretty much nothing btw).
So, by your measures, Watson shouldn’t be paid either. By your measures, Herbert isn’t going to get the $50M/Yr he wants because he hasn’t performed in the playoffs right?
All I’m saying is there has only been 2 fully guaranteed contracts given to QBs in the entire league. At the end of the day, if teams think you are worth it then they will pay up. If not, like most of the league, then it’s not going to happen. Incentive laden contracts are what teams are more comfortable with. Again, if Lamar decided to come down on his ask then an extension wouldn’t be an issue. It’s simple. Regardless of past or future stats, that’s the sticking point and will continue to be the sticking point.
But they thought Kirk Cousins and Deshaun Watson were worth it? That’s the point were all getting at…. It’s simple when you aren’t in that position. Really easy to take 30-50M less over the internet….
Yeah, not sure exactly what you are getting at. The fact is, how much money over what period of time is the sticking point regardless of anything. Teams value players in different ways in contract negotiations and trades.
Cousins played for 2 season on a franchise tag, which is a guaranteed 1-year deal.
In the end, Jackson will have to sign the best offer, which will likely not be fully guaranteed, but still offer a decent amount of social security for his offspring. I am not a big fan of his QB play, but he offers the best path for the Colts to the playoffs (in a rather weak division). But if Irsay indeed prefers a project QB like Levis and Richardson, his statement makes a little bit of sense.
Anyone who thinks NFL players don’t deserve fully guaranteed contracts for what they put their bodies through is a clown, just give higher AAV and shorter contracts, how many retired players you gotta see suffer tremendously? 30 billionaires is far worse than 3000 millionaires
I agree with the fact that contracts should be fully guaranteed. I completely understand the argument that guys in the NFL are more likely to get hurt, but these contracts are insured. It’s way past time to stop treating these players as disposable cogs in a machine. Many times they’re giving their bodies, and sometimes their brains, for this sport. Pay them fully.
So $100 million isn’t enough? Many of the latest contracts have huge guarantees, 100x more than most people will make in a lifetime. Move all contracts to 100% without any incentives and watch how many players stop giving 100% after the big payout.
Lamar definitely isn’t the best example, and QBs do generally get large guarantees. How many non-QBs get contracts with big guarantees though? That’s kinda my point. Shouldn’t a contract be a contract? Generally, unless there’s some sorta breach, one side doesn’t get to walk away from a contract with a reduced obligation.
@Sherminator: “So $100 million isn’t enough? Many of the latest contracts have huge guarantees, 100x more than most people will make in a lifetime.”
lmao, what until you get a load of how much money the owners are raking in every year. And they don’t have to really do anything to get it.
Exactly, rct. Owners rake in massive amounts of money, have new stadiums built for them on taxpayers dime, and will then turn around and sell the franchise one day for more than they paid. If I had 5 billion dollars, I’d buy an NFL team because it’s the safest investment you can make.
It just boggles my mind how people get so irked by players wanting a larger part of the revenue that they generate. Does anyone really want to watch Jim Irsay play QB?
If your concern for them is that strong, perhaps all games should be played like the recent Pro Bowl so as to minimize risk to the players.
Agree. NFL sees their players as commodities rather than human beings.
It isn’t an issue of what people want or think players deserve. It’s an issue of what the reality is and the best way for players to navigate it.
Lamar is not the best QB to be the test case on whether QBs should get fully guaranteed deals or not. Players like Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, maybe even Justin Herbert would all have an easier time making the case this should be the norm than a guy with playoff issues, issues getting guys to want to join his team, and who hasn’t played full seasons the past two years even though he’s only in his 20s.
If he wanted to develop leverage or pressure in the media or get other teams involved not having an agent who can navigate those channels for him is also really dumb. It is worth whatever percentage the agent takes to get him the most money possible, work through the media, and to get him on the best team to succeed. Dealing with these issues will get players paid more a lot more than saying what fans think players deserve or not.
Burrow got hurt his rookie year
It’s the same issue for both Rodgers and Jackson, neither are worth high draft picks -and- the big money.
If I were Irsay, I’d tank this year and use the Colts 2023 draft picks to pickup some offensive players that will be able to support one of the QBs available in the 2024 draft.
As for Jackson, he should work out a one year big money deal with Baltimore (in lieu of signing the franchise tender) that allows him to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2023 (sort of like Brady’s last New England contract). It allows both he and the Ravens to extricate themselves from this mess.
Why would Baltimore agree to pay Lamar big money this year and allow him unrestricted free agency next year? The only way this would make sense from Baltimore’s view is if they wind up paying less than $32.5 million for the upcoming season. Even then, they would have to wonder whether Lamar will give 100 percent or whether he would pack it in as soon as he got another minor injury.
If no other team is going to give up 2 first round picks for him, Lamar can either play on the tag or sit out. He could actually get some leverage back if he doesn’t sign his tag offer and the date passes for Baltimore to negotiate with him. Then the Ravens take what they can in trade. However Lamar still has the risk of trying to find a team to sign him for what he wants, after all of the teams have pretty much locked in their cap number for the season.
I just don’t get how LJ8 isn’t worth a high draft pick? Did we not see what Watson and Wilson fetched their teams? Neither are the QB Lamar is,
Wilson had a bad year but to say that he’s not the quarterback Jackson is is ludicrous. Watson also has much better passing stats than Jackson. I think Jackson is a dangerous quarterback and I think he can be better passer with more weapons, but Wilson and Watson are his equal when they were traded
Wilson is a good QB, regardless of the year last year. That saying, he was 7 years older than Jackson is now, Never won an MVP, only once lead the league in any statistic.
Watson was 2 years off for SA allegations, had ZERO end in sight, and is an obvious crappy human being.
Lamar gives back to his community, was an MVP (unanimous), led the league in TD passes before, and is 5x the athlete of the other 2, and did all of that with guys like Duvernay, rookie Hollywood Brown, and 30+ year old Mark Ingram…
Wilson used to be what Jackson currently is. Watson was a good QB until he decided to be a scum of the Earth… And yeah his passing stats are barely better than Jackson’s over their careers, yet one’s an elite runner and the other one runs to rub and tugs…
I’m taking Lamar, each day, of every week, of every year….
I don’t have a problem with Jackson getting his money but Wilson has been to 2 Super Bowls, winning one. He still is a better passer than Jackson and as for Watson, you really should look at his career numbers. He is the 3rd highest rated career active quarterback in the league. He only trails Mahomes and Rodgers. Like I said before, I hope Jackson gets his money
Why one earth does Lamar not hire Waton’s agent? Due worked a miracle for S Watson right?
“I don’t think guaranteed contracts make our game greater, I think it makes it worse.”
Irsay is proving that the one thing worse than guaranteed contracts is guaranteed ownership.
Please give three reasons the NFL has gotten worse despite bad ownership in the last 20 years.
Sorry – Ownership simply doesn’t matter in the whole…
1.) Crappy OT rules.
2.) Inconsistent application of rules on the field.
3.) Ineffective use of replay to help correct the inconsistent application of rules on the field.
Technically those also go back to ownership as they are the ones who can vote to change those.
@HighAltitude: “Please give three reasons the NFL has gotten worse despite bad ownership in the last 20 years.”
Let’s flip your question around and focus on Irsay’s vague and completely meaningless justification for not wanting fully guaranteed deals in the NFL. He says he’s “seen what it’s done to other sports leagues”… what is he talking about? I don’t have a subscription so I can’t read the interview, but if the reporter did not ask a follow-up then he dropped the ball.
What have fully guaranteed contracts “done to other sports leagues”? MLB and NBA are thriving, both domestically and abroad. The NBA might actually be as popular as it has ever been. Players are getting paid a lot and ownership is still making profits while also seeing their franchise values soar. You can even be a do-nothing/spend-nothing owner like Bob Nutting of the Pirates and rake in the money each year (while also seeing his initial franchises investment 10x-15x over time).
So what is Irsay talking about? He just wants to justify not guaranteeing contracts so he can pocket more money himself. That’s it.
Pfff nfl is a commercial with football in between
Game is declining and it’s bc owners care solely about maximizing profits
Player injuries mainly concessions, the nfl is going to decline. Guys will retire earlier and earlier in their careers.
Not to mention this dumb ass international venture
The Colts owner seems to be the owner that the other owners endorse to put their view(s) out there publicly. At least recently? Here it’s about guaranteed contracts; he was also the mouthpiece on where “the club” stood on the Commanders organization.
Again, I don’t see him truly interested in pursuing Jackson, he’s just representing the majority of owners on their position on a hot topic.
MLB is operating pretty fine with guaranteed contracts….
MLB has just implemented rule changes to keep from bleeding viewers. 1.) Limiting Defensive Shifts 2.) Pitch clock 3.) Changed size of bases.
WS ratings have been in a fairly steady decline over the past 10+ years.
Impacting Baseball, Hockey and Basketball, Bally Sports is in bankruptcy.
When networks catch on and quit overpaying for broadcast rights, all of the leagues will be in trouble and it will cascade to player salaries.
Yes there is still a fortune across the many revenue streams, but how will it sustain.
Stupidity is all of the companies that drop huge $$ on a Super Bowl ad and I can watch that ad on Youtube a week before the game.
Jim irsay such a p.o.s.
Guaranteed contracts would not ruin anything you greedy sob
Hope he loses his franchise