Josh Allen (QB)

Lamar Jackson Holds Power In Negotiations

If you’ve been following the contract negotiation updates between the Ravens and star quarterback Lamar Jackson, you’ve been hearing about a young kid without proper representation lackadaisically going through “unusual” procedures. Well, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, those plugged into the situation believe Jackson is in far more control than has been illustrated

Baltimore has reportedly presented offers to the 25 year-old focusing on term rather than annual average. Even so, long-term in this situation is being defined as five years or more. These long-term offers to Jackson apparently value in the realm of $35MM per year. In either respect, it doesn’t sound like the offers compare to those of fellow star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes (10-year, $45MM aav) or Josh Allen (6-year, $43.01MM aav). General manager Eric DeCosta has repeatedly stated that, when Jackson wants to talk, he’s ready to work towards a deal.

Casual observers have frequently made comments that it would be much more prudent for Jackson to allow an agent to move forward with negotiations that could land him a deal worthy of his talents while allowing him to focus on his play. Jackson has confidence he can do both, and those casual observers may come to agree if they learn what Jackson is aiming for.

According to La Canfora’s sources, Jackson isn’t looking at Mahomes and Allen when thinking about his options moving forward, Jackson is looking at Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins, who is not considered on the same level as Mahomes, Allen, and Jackson, played out his rookie contract, played out two franchise tags, then captured a fully-guaranteed, three-year deal worth $84MM.

If Jackson follows this route, he is set to earn $23.02MM in the 2022 NFL season. This year’s franchise tag value for quarterbacks is set at $28.6MM. It will be adjusted, and likely increased, next year and the year after. Plus, when a player receives a franchise tag for the second year in a row, instead of getting paid the value of the tag, they are paid 120% of its value. So, to illustrate the inherent value there, if the franchise tag numbers were to stay the same over the next two years (they won’t), Jackson’s next three seasons would pay out $23.02MM, $28.6MM, and $34.32MM respectively. Following that, Jackson would be a former-MVP quarterback on the market before he turns 30, an extremely rare commodity.

If Cousins was able to leverage that situation into a three-year, $84MM deal, think what Jackson could earn. Jackson is obviously worth more than Cousins’ $28MM per year and over a short-term deal Jackson could net an even higher average still. Not to mention that every year, the market increases. With gambling money pouring in and record media deals paying dividends, NFL contracts continue to skyrocket. Cousins’ deal was made in 2018. In 2025, a top-tier quarterback may be able to earn up to $50MM per year if contract numbers continue to climb.

Allowing Lamar to carry those cap numbers over the next three years could truly hamper the Ravens’ ability to surround him with talent. The way Jackson sees it, he is betting on himself in the short-term but sees an opportunity to cash in either way. He has placed himself in an enviable position that tells Baltimore they don’t have to pay him what he’s asking for, but, if they don’t, it won’t do their cap space any favors.

Expect for Jackson to continue waiting patiently for a deal he can’t say “no” to. Until then, Jackson will continue to focus on his play. As long as he stays healthy and continues to perform at the level he’s shown he can, Jackson is due for a payday regardless of when a deal gets made.

Contract Details: Allen, Alexander, McCoy, Barkley

Let’s catch up on the details of some of the high-profile contracts given out recently:

  • Josh Allen grabbed all the headlines by inking his mega-extension with the Bills. In an interesting piece, Mike Florio of breaks down how it compares to the huge deal Patrick Mahomes recently signed with the Chiefs. For starters, Allen got a $16.5MM signing bonus, while Mahomes only got $10MM. Further, “the early cash flow for Allen is vastly superior to the Mahomes contract,” Florio writes. That’s because Mahomes’ deal is more back-loaded, while Allen is for example due $47MM in the second year of the pact. Mahomes’ contract is still worth more annually, but only because of the extra years at the end that his has. Through the first eight seasons of their respective deals, the compensation is nearly identical. Allen will clear $284.55MM through eight years, while Mahomes will get $285.33MM through the first eight years of his.
  • Last week the Saints agreed to terms on a one-year deal with linebacker Kwon Alexander, and now we have all the financials. We heard at the time it was worth “up to” $3MM. It turns out to have a base value of only $1.127MM, not too much above the minimum for a player with his service time, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football tweets. He got $387.5K in guaranteed money. Alexander will get another $200K if he plays 50% of the snaps in 13 games, another $300K for 15 games, and another $400K for 17 games. He also has another $972K in other unspecified playing time incentives. New Orleans cut him back in March to save $13MM in cap space, so even if Alexander hits all his incentives he’ll have taken a fairly hefty pay-cut. That’s unfortunately what happens when you’re coming off an Achilles tear like Alexander is. He started all seven games that he played for the Saints last year before going down.
  • Alexander wasn’t the only big name defensive player to sign last week, as defensive tackle Gerald McCoy also latched on with the Raiders. His one-year deal with Las Vegas is worth up to $2MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. He got a signing bonus of $150K and also has incentives worth $750K. The six-time Pro Bowler missed all of 2020 with a torn quad. Once one of the best interior linemen in the league, he turned 33 back in February.
  • Matt Barkley resurfaced with the Titans to give them some insurance behind Ryan Tannehill, and he got $1.1MM on a one-year deal, Rapoport notes in the same tweet. Rapsheet didn’t specify, but it seems unlikely that much if any of it was guaranteed. Tennessee apparently wasn’t happy with only having Logan Woodside behind Tannehill. Shortly after signing Barkley, they released Deshone Kizer. Woodside and Barkley will now battle it out for clipboard-holding duties.

Bills GM On Josh Allen Extension

It took a little while, but the Bills have locked up Josh Allen for years to come. On Saturday, the young quarterback agreed to a six-year contract extension worth $258MM with $150MM in overall guarantees. Perhaps more importantly, Allen got $100MM fully guaranteed at signing — the highest in NFL history. 

[RELATED: Bills, Allen Agree To $258MM Deal]

I felt like at some point soon we were either really going to push to get this done or it was going to be a standstill,” GM Brandon Beane told Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic. “You can hit some points where you both just step away and say, ‘We’re not going to talk about this for a little while.’”

The most recent standstill occurred less than a week ago. On August 1st, it was reported that the Bills and Allen had zero momentum towards a new deal. Then, on August 6, Allen put pen to paper. Under normal circumstances, Beane says, the contract would have been inked much sooner.

We built a team that was planning on the cap being 215 or 220 (million), but the cap went back to what it was two years ago when (Carson) Wentz and (Jared) Goff were done,” Beane said. “They might have been able to do something in the first year that we couldn’t do just because of where we’re at. If COVID hadn’t happened, I truly believe this would have gotten done before we started training camp. I just think there were some things that were hard for them. They’re a big firm. Anything they do, they’re worried about precedent. And anything we do we’re worried about our precedent. That can get sticky.”

As head coach Sean McDermott puts it, the deal was “a leap of faith” for both parties. Allen will carry $40MM+ hits against the Bills annual cap, but that’s the price they had to pay for one of the game’s most promising young QBs. Besides, he’ll be joined at the top by his counterparts — Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson may soon knock Allen off of his highest-paid perch.

Bills Sign Josh Allen To $258MM Extension

It’s a done deal. On Friday, the Bills signed Josh Allen to a six-year contract extension. The deal is worth $258MM in total with $150MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of That includes $100M fully guaranteed upon signing, the largest in the history of the sport (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport).

Allen is now signed through the 2028 season with a deal to reflect his performance. Last year, the 25-year-old set the Bills’ single-season franchise records for touchdown passes (37), completions (396), completion rate (69.2), passing yards (4,544), and total TDs (46). If not for Aaron Rodgers‘ even more impressive season, Allen would have been the NFL’s 2020 MVP.

The forthcoming details of the deal will reveal Allen’s true standing among the league’s highest-paid QBs. However, it’s expected that the deal will include a team-friendly structure to help the Bills’ cap situation in the short term. He seems to have leapfrogged Cowboys star Dak Prescott in both average annual value and guarantees — Prescott’s four-year, $160MM pact puts him at $40MM per year with $126MM in guaranteed cash.

The Bills did well to lock up Allen before other QBs got their deals. Of the three quarterbacks who have landed on the extension radar this offseason — Allen, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield — Allen is coming off the best season. He didn’t start his pro career quite like Jackson or Mayfield, but he has steadily improved, leading up to last year’s dominant showing.

Allen, fresh off Second Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections, now ranks as one of the highest-paid players in NFL history.

“No Momentum” In Contract Talks Between Bills, Josh Allen

The Bills and star QB Josh Allen are talking extension, but as of right now, there is no momentum towards an agreement, as Kim Jones of the NFL Network reports (Twitter link). However, Allen himself is not sweating it, calling his contract situation the “least of my worries.”

That is because Allen knows it’s a question of when, not if, he gets his mega-deal. Jones suggests that, if a new contract is not in place by the middle of August, the two sides could table negotiations until next offseason, but that scenario would hardly threaten Allen’s future in Buffalo. Because the Bills have exercised Allen’s fifth-year option, the big-armed passer is under contract through 2022, and the franchise tag is a theoretical option for 2023 if it comes to that (of course, the Cowboys’ protracted talks with Dak Prescott demonstrated the danger of that approach).

Allen has expressed a willingness to give the Bills a team-friendly structure on his second pro contract, but that doesn’t mean he will be willing to take a discount. He is in line to eclipse Prescott’s four-year, $160MM pact, which includes $126MM in guaranteed money. A deal of that magnitude certainly is a complex undertaking, though the Bills and Allen have plenty of time to continue discussing it.

As our Ben Levine detailed last month, Allen might prefer to get something done sooner rather than later. After all, it’s hard to imagine him improving on his incredible 2020 campaign, and while draftmate Lamar Jackson might drive Allen’s price a little higher if Jackson signs his extension first, it’s unlikely to make too much of an impact. And an earlier report noted that Allen is willing to operate independently of Jackson and Browns’ QB Baker Mayfield, suggesting that Allen is indeed prepared to put pen to paper before his fellow young signal-callers.

On the other hand, we don’t know the type of offer the Bills have on the table at this point — maybe they’re trying to keep the price down by pointing to Allen’s inconsistencies in 2018-19. And if they’re not willing to give up Prescott money just yet, Allen could continue to wait them out.

Josh Allen Open To Bills-Friendly Deal Structure?

The three most recent monster quarterback extensions broke down into two categories. Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson agreed on shorter-term, value-maximizing deals; Patrick Mahomes signed a 10-year extension that reached unprecedented total value but aided the Chiefs in structure. Josh Allen may be willing to take the latter route.

An Allen-Bills deal has hovered on the NFL radar since second-place MVP finisher became extension-eligible in January, and some buzz has emerged indicating Allen might be open to working with the Bills on a friendlier extension structure, Jeremy Fowler of notes (video link). This does not mean a discount, Fowler adds, but a contract structure that would help the Bills more than a traditional quarterback contract would.

Of the three quarterbacks who have landed on the extension radar this offseason — Allen, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield — Allen is coming off the best season and may have the most incentive to sign a deal this year. Allen did not start his career as well as Jackson or Mayfield, but he has steadily improved — leading up to a dominant 2020 showing.

In April, it did not sound like the Bills and their franchise QB were close on a deal. But Sean McDermott expressed confidence recently while praising the Wyoming product’s fit in western New York.

Josh and I have spoken,” Bills GM Brandon Beane said in April“We’d love to get Josh extended, but it has to be a number that works for him and us. We’re all on same page. Josh wants to be here. That gives me hope we’ll get something done at some point. Can’t guarantee it’ll be this year.”

Thanks to picking up Allen’s fifth-year option, Buffalo has him signed through 2022. This will allow the Bills to take a slightly firmer stance in negotiations, even as the salary cap is set to rise to nearly $210MM next year. Allen, 25, battled inconsistency in 2018 and ’19 but led the Bills to a 13-3 season and their first AFC championship game in 27 years. The cannon-armed passer agreeing to a Bills-friendly structure would help Beane and McDermott keep the team on this level.

Mahomes’ 10-year, $450MM contract came in the same offseason in which the Chiefs extended Travis Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones. The Chiefs have since restructured Mahomes’ deal, dropping his 2021 base salary to $990K, and the through-2031 contract will provide the team more flexibility than the Prescott’s four-year, $160MM extension will give the Cowboys. Allen agreeing to a 10-year extension would be surprising, but he and the Bills finding a structural middle ground would certainly be an interesting development for the quarterback market.

Bills HC Sean McDermott Discusses Potential Josh Allen Extension

Josh Allen still hasn’t inked his extension with the Bills, but head coach Sean McDermott is making it sound like a deal will get done sooner than later.

“[GM] Brandon [Beane] mentioned that, I think at the end of the spring practice period there, and these things handle themselves,” McDermott said during an appearance on NFL Network (via Nick Shook of “They work themselves out when you got two parties that want to be together and have the same end goal in mind. Josh is a great, young talent and he fits so well with Buffalo and the city and the town and the people of Buffalo. So, I firmly believe it’s gonna work itself out.”

We’ve heard similar sentiments out of Buffalo throughout the offseason…but we’re now in July and a long-term deal still hasn’t been completed. When we last heard from the organization back in May, it sounded like both sides were starting to play some hardball, as Beane made it clear that the extension value “has to be a number that works for [Allen] and us.”

Allen probably doesn’t have a whole lot to gain by waiting to ink a deal. He’s already eyeing a sizable pay day, and unless he can somehow top last season’s performance (second in MVP, AFC Championship appearance), he’ll be facing a similar pay day later on. On the flip side, Allen could decline or suffer an injury, which could cost him money on his next deal.

So, as Shook explains, it’s most likely the organization that’s dragging their feet on a potential extension. While the franchise obviously wants their quarterback to succeed, they could show some patience to see if Allen can put up a similar performance in 2021. After picking up the 25-year-old’s fifth-year option, Allen is locked in through the 2022 campaign, so the organization has plenty of time to hammer out the details.

AFC Notes: Andrews, Allen, Patriots

We’ve heard a ton in recent weeks about Lamar Jackson‘s upcoming extension with the Ravens. All the back and forth about Jackson’s mom and her role in negotiations has caused a lot of people to forget that Baltimore has other orders of business as well. One of those is Mark Andrews, the young tight end currently set to enter the final year of his rookie deal. One way or the other, Andrews is “far too important to the Ravens offense to let him walk,” Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic opines. “Either via an extension or the franchise tag, Andrews will be a Raven in 2022,” he writes.

Although he might not surpass George Kittle‘s $15MM AAV to become the league’s highest-paid tight end, Zrebiec thinks “he probably won’t be far off.” He writes that Andrews will “likely command more than the” $12.5MM that both Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith got from the Patriots this offseason. The Ravens drafted Andrews 86th overall in 2018, and they got a steal. The Oklahoma product made the Pro Bowl in 2019, when he finished with 852 yards and 10 touchdowns. Last year he was once again Jackson’s favorite target over the middle, finishing with a solid 701 yards in 14 games. Zrebiec says the likeliest bet is Andrews gets an extension, so it sounds like Jackson won’t be the only member of Baltimore’s offense getting paid shortly.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Speaking of extensions, Bills quarterback Josh Allen will need one soon too. Thanks to the fifth-year option Allen, like Jackson, is under contract through the 2022 season. But like with fellow 2018 draft class passer Baker Mayfield, extensions may come sooner rather than later. Vic Carruci of Buffalo News writes that he thinks the Bills and Allen “will work something out before the start of the season.” Carruci seems to think Allen will act “independently” of Mayfield and Jackson, and not wait around to make sure they go first and set the market. On the heels of a superb 2020 campaign, Allen will be looking for top of the quarterback market money, likely around $40MM annually on a new deal.
  • Staying in the AFC East, the Patriots have a new hire. New England is adding Richmond cornerbacks coach Ross Douglas to their staff as a quality control coach, Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports tweets. Douglas was only hired by Richmond in February before the Patriots have now poached him away. Thamel notes that Douglas spent 2020 on Greg Schiano’s staff at Rutgers and Schiano has connections to the Pats and Bill Belichick, so maybe that played a role here. Douglas played college ball at both Michigan and Rutgers between 2013-17.

Bills’ HC “Concerned” About Vaccine Timing

The Bills are back on the field in Orchard Park for voluntary workouts and head coach Sean McDermott says things are about “60% normal” in Orchard Park. With that said, McDermott is still hoping to see more of his players get vaccinated in a timely fashion. 

I’m concerned about it, being very up front,” McDermott said (via the Democrat and Chronicle). “It’s something we’ve talked about and I don’t think the right word is trying to convince (people to get the shot); I think the right word is to educate and build awareness and then let people decide. It’s kind of two-pronged, if you will, with health and safety and then what you’ve got to do to do your job. I think those are the two prongs of the fork right now that must be considered and considered seriously.”

Recently, quarterback Josh Allen indicated that he was still gathering information with regards to the vaccine and weighing his options. Meanwhile, McDermott has to tread lightly on the subject after his GM caused a recent stir.

Yeah, I would [cut players who refuse the vaccine], because [getting vaccinated] would be an advantage,” Brandon Beane said earlier this month. “I think there’s going to be some incentives if you have X -percent of your players and staff vaccinated. You can live normal…let’s just call it, back to the old days. If you don’t, it’s going to look more like last year…I hope that, if those are the rules, we’ll be able to get enough people vaccinated and not have to deal with all the headaches from a year ago.

Soon after, the NFL reached out to Beane to let him know that players cannot be released solely for declining the vaccine. NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith also bashed the Bills GM for his remarks. So, while the NFL is incentivizing players with relaxed protocols, the choice ultimately lies with the players.

Bills Pick Up Options For Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds

No surprise here. The Bills have picked up the fifth-year options on quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, per a club announcement. 

Allen, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 draft, is now set to make $23.106MM in 2022. Edmunds, the No. 16 choice in the same class, will earn a salary of $12.716MM. The Bills didn’t have to stress over either decision, though negotiating Allen’s next deal may be a bit trickier.

“Josh and I have spoken,” Beane said recently. “We’d love to get Josh extended, but it has to be a number that works for him and us. We’re all on same page. Josh wants to be here. That gives me hope we’ll get something done at some point. Can’t guarantee it’ll be this year.”

Clearly, there’s mutual interest in a longer arrangement, but Allen has serious leverage. His breakout 2020 saw 13 wins for the Bills, transforming him into an MVP candidate. Allen finished the year with a 69.2-percent completion rate, 4,544 yards, 30 touchdowns, and ten interception. And, for good measure, he added another 421 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. Thanks in large part to Allen, the Bills reached the AFC Championship Game, their first appearance since 1993.