Lamar Jackson

Poll: How Will Ravens’ Lamar Jackson Negotiations End?

Since the 2011 CBA reshaped rookie contracts and extension windows, Lamar Jackson is traversing one of the most original paths of any rookie-deal player. While Kirk Cousins and Dak Prescott laid the groundwork for quarterback patience leading to bigger deals down the road, Jackson is a former first-round pick — thus delaying this process — and proceeding without an agent.

The fifth-year quarterback resumed extension talks with the Ravens this week. This saga veered into new territory this offseason, when Steve Bisciotti, Eric DeCosta and John Harbaugh all indicated Jackson was not prioritizing an extension. The former MVP echoed his usual pro-Baltimore comments this week by saying he expects to finish his career with the Ravens. Even for Jackson to play into his late 20s with the team, some significant business must be completed.

While the 25-year-old star QB is coming off a down year — at least compared to his stratospheric 2019 and solid 2020 — he still made his second Pro Bowl. Despite throwing a career-high 13 interceptions (in just 12 starts), Jackson has seen Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson change the quarterback market by reeling in Patrick Mahomes less than two years after his market-reshaping extension.

Watson’s contract — an unprecedented five-year, $230MM deal that came fully guaranteed — stands to play a role in Jackson’s talks with the Ravens, Kyler Murray‘s with the Cardinals, and pertain to other standout QBs soon up for extensions. Teams will try to treat Watson’s deal as an outlier. Players and agents will not. Jackson said, not in so many words, Watson’s Browns extension is not factoring into his approach with the Ravens, via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec (subscription required).

In speaking to the media for the first time in five months, the Jackson also kept most of his plans close to his vest by using versions of the phrase “we’re in conversations” eight times during his minicamp-wrapping availability session. His non-answer regarding playing this season on his rookie deal — a $23MM fifth-year option sum — was notable. So is the fact he remains on his rookie pact after being extension-eligible for 18 months. This differs wildly from Murray’s blueprint, with the Cardinals’ dual-threat QB wanting a deal ahead of his fourth season. Most modern-era first-round QBs have followed Murray’s path.

Is Jackson’s patience wise? It is difficult to judge his tactics when it is not known what the Ravens are offering. A November 2021 report indicated Jackson was gunning for a Mahomes-level $45MM-per-year contract, while the Ravens were not there. With Watson’s fully guaranteed $46MM-AAV pact coming to pass four months later, Jackson is in a strong position to cash in now. Waiting worked for Prescott, who saw 2016 draft classmates Carson Wentz and Jared Goff sign their extensions in 2019. The Cowboys starter waited until the 2021 March tag deadline to ink a far more lucrative deal (four years, $160MM; $95MM fully guaranteed).

Making the Ravens face the threat of a QB franchise tag price (approximately $35MM) clogging their 2023 payroll could provide Jackson more leverage, but not cashing in now could also hurt his value. Jackson finished 17th in QBR last season — down from first in 2019 and seventh in 2020 — and became a superstar mostly because of his gifts as a runner. The NFL’s single-season QB rushing yardage record holder suffered a sprained ankle that ended his 2021 season early. A 2022 Ravens edition thinner at wide receiver does not figure to reduce Jackson’s run-game involvement much. Jackson’s 615 carries through four seasons are 148 more than any other quarterback in NFL history compiled to that point, with Cam Newton in second. Newton’s shorter-than-expected prime could serve as a warning for Jackson.

Then again, Prescott suffered a severe ankle malady during his 2020 franchise tag season and cashed in months later. The Ravens extended Joe Flacco following his fifth season — by far his most notable, with a Super Bowl XLVII-winning run leading to a then-QB-record deal — but that re-up backfired. Bisciotti already mentioned the Cousins route (two tags and a free agency bid), raising the stakes for these negotiations. As could be expected, the Ravens are not presently entertaining a Jackson trade, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com notes. If this saga begins down the Prescott path, would the team bail before it approaches the Cousins stage?

How and when will this saga end? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

Ravens Resume Contract Talks With Lamar Jackson

The Ravens’ offseason has been dominated by the distinct lack of progress being made regarding contract negotiations with Lamar Jackson. With the former MVP back at the team’s facility this week, though, he was able to provide an update on the situation. 

[RELATED: Jackson Reports To Ravens’ Minicamp]

When speaking to the media after the team’s final practice before training camp, the 25-year-old said that he has been in conversation with GM Eric DeCosta about his contract status this week (Twitter link via the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec). That is in line with previous negotiations, as Jackson represents himself and DeCosta has personally handled talks throughout this process.

Jackson added that he “expects to stay with Ravens for his career,” something which seemed like an inevitability at one point but has since been clouded by the growing belief he will play on the fifth-year option in 2022. If that were to take place, the door would be opened to a pair of franchise-tag years, in a situation similar to the one involving Kirk Cousins in Washington.

On that point, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley reported before Jackson’s remarks today that there is “not a lot of optimism Baltimore and Jackson can agree to an extension before the season.” Talks between the two sides, even for a brief period, could change that sentiment, especially considering a different statement Jackson made.

Jackson “does feel worthy of a contract extension” at this time (Twitter link via Zrebiec). That contradicts the notion from earlier in the offseason that his focus would be squarely placed on the upcoming season, and remarks from owner Steve Bisciotti that he felt the need to win a Super Bowl before commanding a sizeable raise.

Jackson also made it clear that his unprecedented absence from Baltimore’s OTAs “was not contract-related,” as noted by Hensley (on Twitter). On the other hand, when asked about his planned attendance at training camp and the beginning of the regular season, he replied, “We’re having a conversation about it. I don’t know” (Twitter link).

Depending on how talks go, there could be progress made on an extension in the near future. It still appears likely, however, that this storyline will continue into the summer.

Lamar Jackson Reports To Ravens’ Minicamp

As John Harbaugh expected, Lamar Jackson is back with his teammates at minicamp. The former MVP showed up to the team’s facility ahead of the mandatory workouts, which are slated to begin Tuesday.

Entangled in a somewhat strange contract situation, Jackson stayed away from Ravens OTAs this year. The star quarterback had usually attended those voluntary sessions in previous years. But the franchise’s centerpiece player is back for the mandatory work, at least. As far as an extension goes, that is another matter entirely.

The Ravens have Jackson tied to a $23MM fifth-year option this season. Harbaugh, GM Eric DeCosta and owner Steve Bisciotti have spoken about the quarterback’s extension situation, each indicating the team is more prepared to hammer out a deal than the quarterback is. All indications at this point have Jackson on track to play out his rookie contract, setting up a franchise tag scenario in 2023. Although there is still time for the parties to prevent that chain of events, this remains one of the more unusual contractual sagas to unfold in recent years. Jackson, 25, has been extension-eligible since the 2020 regular season ended.

The former Heisman winner will avoid the $90K-plus fine by showing up for the Ravens’ mandatory sessions, returning to work with a new-look offensive line and a receiving corps now without his top wideout (Marquise Brown) of the past three seasons. The Ravens are breaking in rookie center Tyler Linderbaum, and they have a new right tackle in Morgan Moses. While OTAs do not feature any padded practices, and the Ravens are returning their play-caller (Greg Roman), Jackson’s absence was still notable.

But this has never been viewed as a contentious situation. The parties have nearly three months to complete an extension before Week 1. Even if they do not, Jackson has continually said he wants to stay in Baltimore. He has taken an atypical route to show that affection, at least compared to most QBs who have been in his spot since the 2011 CBA changed rookies’ salaries and timetables. Though, it is unknown what the Ravens have offered the agent-less talent. For now, the team can again move forward with its longtime passer after some time apart.

Lamar Jackson Expected To Attend Ravens’ Minicamp

As the OTA portion of the offseason came to a close, Lamar Jackson remained a key talking point around the Ravens. His absence at the voluntary workouts continued, as noted by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley (on Twitter). 

Jackson skipped OTAs for the first time in his career this offseason, one which has been dominated by speculation regarding his contract status. Once considered to be a lock for the next mega-deal signed by the league’s top young quarterbacks in recent years, Jackson and the Ravens are widely thought to be in a holding pattern until next offseason. Assuming that remains the case, the 25-year-old will earn $23MM this year on the fifth-year option.

The team has made repeated efforts to negotiate a long-term deal with Jackson, but little traction has been found with respect to contract talks. The ongoing financial situation between player and club was front and center once again when it became known he was conducting offseason work privately, rather than with the team, during OTAs. That activity did, on the other hand, include work with some of the team’s receivers earlier in the spring, something which has added significance given the question marks surrounding that position group.

Not long after confirming Jackson’s absence from the final week of OTAs, Hensley did tweet that he is expected to be present for next week’s mandatory minicamp. Head coach John Harbaugh, Hensley added, “is sure Jackson will report in great shape.” Doing so would ease concerns related to his 2022 prospects, considering the time missed dating back to last season’s injury, and could quell some of the questions related to his long-term future with the team.

QB Notes: Brady, Lamar, Rudolph, Falcons

Although it has been more than two months since Tom Brady‘s unretirement, the Buccaneers were connected to other quarterback options for a fairly lengthy stretch this winter. Brady retired on Feb. 1 and decided to come back March 13, the Sunday ahead of the 2022 league year’s outset. Shortly after Brady recommitted, the Bucs re-signed Ryan Jensen and Carlton Davis. Chris Godwin agreed to an extension, and Leonard Fournette returned to the fold. Outside additions like Russell Gage, Logan Ryan and Akiem Hicks have joined up as well, separating this offseason from 2021’s historic talent-retention effort. It is safe to say Tampa Bay’s free agency plan would have been different without Brady, who announced a return on that date despite being on the fence about playing again.

You know at this stage, it’s like 55% yes and 45% no,” Brady said during an interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson (via the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud) of his mid-March stance on playing a 23rd season. “That’s just the reality. It’s not that I’m not 100% committed; it’s just as soon as I make the commitment to do it, it’s like ‘Ugh. All right, here we go.’ It’s like running a marathon. You can’t decide two weeks before the marathon, ‘Hey, I’m going to start running.’

We got right to free agency and I felt some pressure to do it and talked to the team and organization, and it all worked out.”

Brady’s decision almost certainly had an impact on the Bucs’ ensuing coaching change, and the 44-year-old passer has since signed a restructure agreement to help the Bucs add more talent this offseason. Here is the latest from the quarterback scene:

  • Lamar Jackson‘s second offseason of extension eligibility has been quieter than his first, and although the consensus thus far appears to be the Ravens quarterback will exit 2022 without a new deal, Albert Breer of SI.com envisions the parties coming to an agreement. Noting the trust between Jackson and the team remains strong, despite the QB’s OTAs absence and the three Ravens power brokers confirming the former MVP has not shown extension interest, Breer points to this and the fifth-year veteran’s desire to stay a Raven as reasons a deal will happen. Deshaun Watson‘s fully guaranteed deal undoubtedly complicates matters for the Ravens, who have Jackson on a $23MM cap number in his fifth-year option season.
  • With the Steelers likely to choose between Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett after the preseason, Mason Rudolph resides as an atypical third-string option. That points to the Steelers looking into trading their longtime backup, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic offers (subscription required). Unless Pickett proves unready to the point the Steelers need Rudolph as Trubisky’s backup, a trade before the team finalizes its 53-man roster could make sense. Rudolph signed a Steelers extension last year, before Trubisky and Pickett entered the equation. The Steelers would save $3MM by trading Rudolph, who is due for free agency in 2023.
  • The Falcons worked out multiyear Ball State starter Drew Plitt this week, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Plitt worked as the Mid-American Conference program’s primary starter from 2019-21, piecing together a 59-19 touchdown pass-to-interception ratio in that time. The Falcons have 2021 UDFA Feleipe Franks as their third QB currently, alongside Marcus Mariota and third-rounder Desmond Ridder.

Lamar Jackson Absent From Ravens’ OTAs

Lamar Jackson has been the source of much debate and speculation this offseason as a result of his contract situation. Another talking point has emerged, however, due to the fact that he is absent from the team’s OTAs. 

[RELATED: Latest On Jackson, Stalled Contract Talks]

As detailed by the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec (subscription required), Jackson’s pattern of attendance for voluntary on-field work makes his decision to stay away from the team newsworthy. He also notes, however, the fact that the 25-year-old has already done private work with the team’s receivers this offseason. As a result, the team “maintain[s] they are fine with” the current situation.

When asked about the two-time Pro Bowler’s decision to stay away, head coach John Harbaugh said, “We’ve been down this road many times through the years” via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley“It’s not for me to speak for somebody else on that. It’s up to him to speak for himself on that.”

The Ravens have repeatedly tried to work out a long-term deal with Jackson, but his own willingness to do so is widely seen as the primary obstacle to an extension. He is due $23MM this season on the fifth-year option, and would be in line for sizeable raises in the two seasons after that through franchise tags, should the situation reach that point.

Jackson’s absence is further amplified by the fact that he missed the end of the 2021 campaign due to an ankle injury, and that the team has one of the least experienced receiving corps in the league. With little to no expectation that a contract will be forthcoming during the upcoming season, it is possible he remains absent until mandatory minicamp in June.

Latest On Lamar Jackson

The 2022 offseason has seen plenty of headlines being made with respect to quarterbacks, but the lack of news regarding a few young signal-callers has stood out as well. That is the case with Lamar Jackson, who has at no point seemed on the verge of an extension with the Ravens. 

A lucrative deal seemed like an inevitability when he first became eligible to sign one at the end of the 2020 season. Since then, however, the 25-year-old has signalled his desire to focus on the upcoming season rather than his long-term future. He will play out the 2022 campaign on the fifth-year option, which carries a value of $23MM.

The Ravens have, on a number of occasions, expressed their willingness to negotiate a deal. Acknowledging that Jackson himself has to be willing to enter into those discussions, though, this situation could end up remaining in a holding pattern until next offseason. Indeed, as CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes, “all parties seem resigned to the fact that a new deal is highly unlikely”.

Beside the financial parameters of any new contract – which would be heavily influenced, of course, by those recently signed by the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Deshaun Watson – another factor was entered into the equation last month when the Ravens traded Marquise Brown to the Cardinals. The loss of the team’s former top wideout (and close friend of Jackson’s) has some wondering what effect it could have on negotiations.

As a result, Jeff Howe of the Athletic writes that other teams are “monitoring the situation from afar”. While he adds that “there is no hint” of the former MVP becoming available now or in the future, this latest notable roster move adds even more intrigue to one of the league’s most unique ongoing contract sagas.

Chiefs, Packers Pursued Marquise Brown

Prior to the Cardinals acquiring Marquise Brown during the first round, the Ravens discussed the deep threat with the Chiefs and Packers, SI.com’s Howard Balzer tweets.

Given both contenders’ receiver moves this offseason, their involvement in these trade talks should not surprise. The Cardinals’ somewhat surprising offer — headlined by the No. 23 overall pick — won out, and neither the Chiefs nor Packers selected a wide receiver in the first round. Despite holding two first-rounders apiece, Green Bay and Kansas City enter Day 2 of the draft with needs at the position.

Although the teams’ market-shifting Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill trades had more of an impact on the A.J. Brown trade than the one involving the Baltimore wideout, the moves left the Chiefs and Packers in need. Kansas City does not appear to feature the same level of need as Green Bay, thanks to Marquez Valdes-Scantling‘s Missouri relocation, but the team was linked to a wideout move ahead of the draft. The Packers have done well with second-round receiver picks; perhaps this is the direction Green Bay goes Friday.

Lamar Jackson expressed frustration after the Brown trade commenced, but the former MVP knew about the latter’s trade request. Despite Jackson’s Twitter activity Thursday night, GM Eric DeCosta informed the star quarterback of the move before it happened, per Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed. Brown did as well, being at the Cardinals’ draft party Thursday night.

It was just … my happiness,” Brown said during an appearance on the I Am Athlete Tonight podcast (via Pro Football Talk)I talked to Lamar about it after my second year. And then after my third year, leading up to the end of the season, you know, [Jackson] wasn’t playing. I let him know again, like, ‘Yeah, bro, I can’t do it.’

You know, it’s not really on Lamar, like I love Lamar. It was just, you know, it’s just the system just wasn’t for me personally. You know, I love all my teammates. I love the guys. It was just something I had to think about for myself.”

The Ravens’ run-heavy system has steered receivers (including Smith-Schuster) away in the past, and Brown’s exit leaves Baltimore with a bit of a need at the position. This reunites Brown with Oklahoma teammate Kyler Murray, a scenario Brown said the two discussed this winter (via 98.7 Arizona Sports’ Tyler Drake, on Twitter). Brown, who is coming off his first NFL 1,000-yard season, played a big role in Murray winning the 2018 Heisman Trophy. The 5-foot-9 target caught 75 passes for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore, catching the Ravens’ eye in the 2019 first round.

John Harbaugh Addresses Lamar Jackson’s Slow Pace Toward Extension

The Ravens continue to put word out Lamar Jackson is not pursuing an extension. John Harbaugh said Tuesday no talks have occurred between the former MVP and the team since shortly after the season ended.

A recent report indicated Jackson was not planning to discuss a new deal until after the 2022 season wraps, and owner Steve Bisciotti‘s first comments about the state of the team in years centered on Jackson. Bisciotti broached the subject of a two-franchise tag future. That still seems too early to predict, and Jackson reiterated his happiness in Baltimore. But the team is ready to do a deal; its quarterback is not.

We had a serious conversation at the end of the season with Lamar and [GM] Eric [DeCosta] and myself,” Harbaugh said during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show (via Pro Football Talk). “And he made it pretty clear where he was at with it and what he wanted to do this offseason, and that was really the last formal one we had.

When he’s ready to do it, it’s going to become a priority for him, then we’re gonna know it, you know? It doesn’t have to be a priority for us right now. It’s got to be a priority for both sides. We can do something, or we can wait. Because we know it’s gonna get done when it’s supposed to get done.”

The three-time Pro Bowler is attached to a $23MM fifth-year option salary. An extension would help the Ravens by bringing that number down. Should this process progress to a franchise tag in 2023, that cap figure would become an issue for the team.

Jackson’s patience looks to be more of a gamble than Kirk Cousins‘ or Dak Prescott‘s, considering his unprecedented carry pace. Jackson’s 615 carries through four seasons are 148 more than any other quarterback in NFL history compiled to that point, with Cam Newton in second. Newton’s short prime could serve as a warning here, as it would seemingly behoove Jackson to cash in early. Of course, it is not known how far the Ravens are prepared to go financially. As of November, they were not ready to give Jackson a deal matching Patrick Mahomes‘ $45MM-per-year accord. The Deshaun Watson contract — averaging $46MM annually and coming fully guaranteed — may well have changed the game for star quarterbacks, complicating potential Ravens-Jackson talks.

Harbaugh has said several times Jackson would get paid. His first such comments on the matter came shortly after the 2020 season ended, when the longtime Baltimore HC expected a deal to be finalized either during the 2021 or ’22 offseasons. Jackson’s approach has clearly surprised the Ravens, as their owner, GM and head coach have confirmed he is not pursuing a new deal.

I do believe Lamar when he tells me that, man, he just wants to be the best quarterback he can be, and that’s what he’s thinking about right now,” Harbaugh said. “He doesn’t think he has to think about his contract. He feels like he’s got time to do it. Yeah, you could argue that one way or the other. But everybody gets to make that decision for themselves. That’s a great thing. That’s his choice, not somebody else’s.”

If Jackson’s patience does pay off and he retains his elite value by the time he is ready to negotiate, the self-represented passer will do incredibly well for himself. But this saga does not appear set to conclude soon. This reaching the two-tag path represents the best bet as of now, OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald posited recently (via The Athletic). That would mean Jackson putting extension talks off until at least 2025. It would easily be one of the boldest plays in NFL contract history.

Lamar Jackson Not Currently Focused On New Contract?

Much has been talked about recently regarding Lamar Jackson and the lack of traction on a new contract being worked on between him and the Ravens. As many have noted, the former MVP himself is seen as the main reason an extension doesn’t appear to be forthcoming in the immediate future. 

[RELATED: Latest On Ravens’ Jackson Extension Efforts]

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports that Jackson may not be eyeing a new deal at any point leading up to or during the upcoming campaign. As he writes, the 25-year-old “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”. That would shed further light on the growing sense within the front office that a new contract isn’t on the horizon.

Adding to the comments recently made by owner Steve Bisciotti, Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network further details the perception of Jackson’s current priorities. The former’s thoughts on the matter echo the source Florio references above.

“It’s unique as hell because everybody expects you to say, ‘I’ve got to get mine now.’ The kid is so obsessed with winning a Super Bowl that I think, deep down, he doesn’t think he’s worthy” of a lucrative second contract, Bisciotti said. “I don’t think he is turned on by money that much, and he knows it’s coming one way or the other.”

Jackson made a public response to the speculation swirling around his future earlier this week. The two-time Pro Bowler is scheduled to make $23MM this year, and would be in line for sizeable raises after that if he were to play on the franchise tag. While it’s rare for franchise QBs to go that long without a long-term pact, Kirk Cousins represents a recent example of that being the case.

While the Ravens have repeatedly made it clear they are willing to put together a new contract whenever Jackson is ready to do so, putting a healthy return to the field and both individual and team success first would seem to be his top priority at this time. If that remains the case, one of the league’s most unique contract situations may remain in a holding pattern for quite some time.