Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson Rumors: Offers, Market, Agent, Nonexclusive Tag

There has been a ton of chatter about what the Ravens should offer to quarterback Lamar Jackson in a potential contract extension and about what Jackson truly deserves. Thanks to an article published last week by Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post, we have been given a bit of a look at what Baltimore did offer its star quarterback and what he’s rejected so far. 

In the article, La Canfora reiterates a point of conversation that has become quite common in the past few weeks: the impasse between team executives and Jackson focuses on guaranteed money, an issue punctuated by the Browns’ unprecedented, fully guaranteed contract extension for quarterback Deshaun Watson.

La Canfora reports that, over a year before the Bills extended quarterback Josh Allen at the price tag of around $43MM per year, Baltimore offered Jackson a deal worth $35MM per year. The two sides were unable to come to an agreement, though, and the contract saga continued on into this past offseason.

Jackson and the Ravens proceeded with negotiations prior to the start of the season, culminating in a significantly increased offer totaling $290MM over six years. The average annual value of $48.33MM would have been good for third in the league behind only Russell Wilson of the Broncos and Aaron Rodgers of the Packers. But, consistent with the point of conversation mentioned above, the two parties were still unable to agree to a new deal due to their difference in views on guaranteed money. The Ravens offered guaranteed money in the range of $160-180MM. It’s a significant offer and commitment, but Jackson has his heart set on the full guarantees that Watson received.

Here are a few other sources of information on the situation that offer unique views to the situation, starting with an argument against the precedent set in Cleveland:

  • Former Saints head coach Sean Payton participated in an interview with Lindsay Rhodes of the NFL Rhodes Show podcast this week. When asked to comment on the situation, Payton claimed he understood Jackson’s point of view. When compared to Watson, Jackson has more than proven that he deserves a similar, if not a better, deal to Watson’s. Payton argued, though, that the market is not going to be set by the Browns, a franchise who has made the playoffs once in the past 20 years, calling Watson’s contract a deal “no other organization in the league would’ve done.” This point has been underlined by recent deals that did not follow that precedent. Both Wilson and Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray signed new long-term deals recently that were nowhere close to approaching the guaranteed money of the Watson-deal. While Jackson is pointing to Watson’s contract, the Ravens are pointing at Wilson and Murray’s as proof that Watson’s deal is an aberration.
  • Jeff Howe of The Athletic recently discussed the situation with multiple NFL executives on the condition of anonymity. While much has been made about Jackson conducting negotiations without professional representation, the rival executives produced an interesting point about Jackson’s lack of an agent. Not taking any credit away from Jackson’s ability to conduct himself in a contract negotiation, one of the executives pointed out that having an agent can serve as a buffer, removing any “personal element from business dealings.” A second general manager agreed, saying, “The club has arguments for why you’re maybe not worth as much as you think, or the club is trying to get the best deal for themselves and the player is trying to get the best deal for himself. And you come to the table with reasons why you came to your position.” Having to tell a player to his face why you think he’s not worth as much as he thinks he is can get pretty personal. So far, all signs have pointed to negotiations being completely amicable, but utilizing an agent could avoid potentially awkward situations.
  • Many expect Jackson to end up playing next season on the team’s franchise tag. In a Q&A with fans this week, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer brought up an interesting possibility that the Ravens could pursue. Breer first points out that, as of right now and subject to change, the exclusive franchise tag projects to $45.45MM. If the situation stalls again, forcing a second consecutive exclusive tag, the amount would rise by 20% to approximately $54.54MM. A third-consecutive exclusive tag would require a 50% increase, resulting in an unheard of salary of $81.81MM, which would be nearly impossible to facilitate. All of these options are less than ideal, as well, because they will all fully count against the team’s salary cap space for each season. Breer proposes that a potential solution could be the use of a nonexclusive tag. Again, subject to change, the nonexclusive tag projects at $29.7MM, a nearly $16MM difference. The risk is that anyone in the league would then have a chance to sign Jackson. Baltimore would retain matching rights, though, meaning that Baltimore can let the rest of the league set Jackson’s market and simply match it. It’s obviously possible that a team submits an offer that Baltimore couldn’t possibly match, but Breer believes that losing Jackson would likely amount in at least two first-round picks coming back. That’s clearly not what the Ravens want, but taking that risk would give them breathing room in cap space, take the pressure off their own shoulders, and would test how badly Jackson wants to remain a Raven.

Latest On Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens didn’t agree to an extension before their self-imposed deadline, and we later learned that the QB turned down a final six-year, $290MM offer. Jackson is pushing back on that notion, telling reporters that “there’s no truth” to the report, per Armando Salguero of

[RELATED: Lamar Jackson Rejected Six-Year, $290MM+ Offer]

The QB is presumably talking about the financial aspects of the reported offer. When we initially learned of Baltimore’s $290MM offer, it was reported that less than half that amount was guaranteed. However, Jackson later acknowledged to ESPN’s Dianna Russini that the Ravens were actually offering between $160MM and $180MM in guaranteed money (Twitter link).

Jackson’s assertion that there was “no truth” to the weekend report would seem to imply that Baltimore’s offer was lower than what was reported, but his later comments to Russini would actually make that reported offer sound even better for the QB. Perhaps he was pushing back at the $290MM total contract value, but that’d also mean that a higher percentage of his total contract value would have been guaranteed.

The quarterback also hinted that he’d reconsider his stance against negotiating an extension during the season. While the former MVP may still be open to discussing a new deal with the Ravens, he has no desire to discuss his potential deal with the media. Speaking to reporters today, Jackson said he’s done talking about his negotiations.

“Respectfully, I’m done talking about it,” Jackson said (via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley). “I told you guys before, I was going to be done with it Week 1. Week 1 is over with. We’re done talking about it. I’m focused on the Dolphins now.”

Jackson continues to push for a fully guaranteed contract, a request that the Ravens front office has been willingness to accomodate. When asked why he’s holding firm on his desire for a full guarantee, the quarterback reiterated that he’s done discussing the matter publicly.

Lamar Jackson Rejected Six-Year, $290MM+ Offer

One of the most prevalent NFL storylines this offseason has been the Ravens’ extension negotiations with star quarterback Lamar Jackson, and we learned on Friday that the two sides had not come to terms. As such, it is likely that contract talks will be tabled until the offseason.

We now have more details on Baltimore’s most recent offer. Per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the Ravens proposed a six-year deal worth over $290MM, which included $133MM guaranteed at signing (Twitter link). The full guarantees and the average annual value would have eclipsed the figures included in the recent contracts signed by Denver’s Russell Wilson ($124MM fully guaranteed, $48.5MM AAV) and Arizona’s Kyler Murray ($103.3MM fully guaranteed, $46.5MM AAV). Indeed, Mortensen says that Wilson’s pact — which was signed just 10 days ago — prompted the Ravens to up their offer.

As has become increasingly clear, Jackson wants his entire contract to be fully guaranteed, just like the one the Browns gave to Deshaun Watson. Of course, clubs are trying to treat the Watson accord as an outlier, and Wilson and Murray clearly did not object to that approach. According to veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson, Baltimore was frustrated that Jackson, unlike Wilson and Murray, did not accept that unique circumstances precipitated Watson’s deal (Twitter links).

Anderson adds that helping elite quarterbacks land fully guaranteed contracts in the future is important to Jackson (links to Twitter). One wonders if the NFLPA — which, as Mortensen tweets, counseled the agentless Jackson — might have influenced the 2019 MVP in that regard, though there is presently nothing to suggest that is the case.

If Jackson continues to bet on himself and takes the “Kirk Cousins approach” to the situation — i.e., forcing the Ravens to put the franchise tag on him in 2023 and ’24 — he would earn around $100MM in guaranteed money over those two seasons, along with the $23MM he is earning in 2022. In 2025, when the cap charge of a third franchise tag becomes untenable, Jackson could theoretically have the leverage to get the fully guaranteed deal he desires from Baltimore or another franchise.

That obviously assumes that his play remains at a high level and that he does not suffer a career-altering injury, though Anderson hears that Jackson is essentially bullet-proof; no matter what happens to him (barring something completely catastrophic), sources expect him to ultimately get what he wants (Twitter links). That may or may not be true, but it is clearly a risk Jackson is willing to take.

We heard previously that the negotiations have not led to any acrimony between Jackson and the Ravens, and for what it’s worth, the union believes the team has negotiated in good faith (Twitter link via Mortensen). Baltimore did include $2.5MM “de-escalator” clauses if Jackson did not attend a certain percentage of offseason workouts, though it’s unlikely that particular provision had much of an impact in talks.

For now, the Ravens and Jackson will turn their attention to Sunday’s opener against the Jets, the start of another campaign in which expectations are high for player and team.

Ravens Fail To Agree On Contract Extension With Lamar Jackson

Today was considered the deadline for the Ravens to finalize an extension with quarterback Lamar Jackson, after he named today as the last negotiating window before turning his attention to the 2022 campaign. The team confirmed that a deal will not be coming in time for the start of the season. 

“Despite best efforts on both sides, we were unable to reach a contract extension with Lamar Jackson,” general manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement. “We greatly appreciate how he has handled this process and we are excited about our team with Lamar leading the way.”

The news comes as little surprise at this point; a mega-deal like several others signed this offseason was reported as being unlikely earlier this week. The matter of guaranteed money has long been seen as the sticking point between team and player, as Jackson is believed to be seeking a deal which is fully guaranteed, just as Deshaun Watson‘s historic Browns contract is.

The Ravens have not, at any point during negotiations, been willing to go that far, including when they reportedly increased their offer to the 25-year-old. The same has been true of the Cardinals and Broncos, who have extended Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson, respectively, on deals which outstrip the $46MM-per-year average of Watson’s pact, though they fall well short in terms of guaranteed compensation.

That has led to the growing sense around the league that the Watson deal is an outlier. Baltimore is among the teams concurring with that view, as confirmed by Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson. He adds, however, that the Ravens are “believed to be willing to guarantee a large portion” of any Jackson extension, even eclipsing Wilson’s $165MM figure and at least approaching Murray’s $189.5MM mark.

Wilson also cites sources emphasizing that negotiations between DeCosta and Jackson (who does not have an agent) have not resulted in an “acrimonious situation.” Nevertheless, this is a disappointing development for the team, and one which leaves Jackson months away from unrestricted free agency.

Assuming he holds true to his aversion to in-season talks, Jackson will play out his rookie contract in 2022 and become subject to a franchise tag in March. The one-year pacts will represent a significant raise from the $23MM Jackson will earn this season, regardless of whether an exclusive or non-exclusive tag is used. The former would place a massive burden on the team’s 2023 cap structure, while the latter would leave open the possibility of an offer sheet.

“We will continue to work towards a long-term contract after the season,” DeCosta’s statement concludes, “but for now we are looking forward to a successful 2022 campaign.” The Ravens open the season on Sunday against the Jets, but this storyline will hang over the franchise for the duration.

Lamar Jackson Extension Unlikely In 2022; QB, Ravens Still Negotiating

Lamar Jackson has moved his deadline for a 2022 extension agreement up to Friday. The former MVP confirmed this today but added talks have not broken off. This is an artificial deadline, and Jackson added the talks “probably” will end Friday. The sides negotiated into last season, but the agent-less QB is against such a path this year.

Baltimore’s star quarterback has been connected to seeking a fully guaranteed deal, a la Deshaun Watson, while the Ravens are against such a structure. The Ravens are believed to have offered a deal north of Kyler Murray‘s $46.1MM-per-year pact, but Jackson remains unsigned. Two days ahead of this deadline, pessimism defines these talks.

Barring an 11th-hour shift, Jackson is expected to play the 2022 season on his $23MM fifth-year option, Mark Maske of the Washington Post notes. Previously, it was thought Jackson was giving the Ravens until their Sunday opener. But considering this deadline is designed to separate Jackson negotiations from his preparation for the 17-game season, it makes sense the three-time Pro Bowler would want to head into the weekend with this matter — extension or not — behind him.

A 2021 Baltimore offer matched the Bills’ $43MM-AAV Josh Allen extension. Jackson passed. While the Ravens have upped their offer this year and may well have increased it again this week, it is worth wondering where the team’s cutoff point resides.

Russell Wilson‘s five-year, $245MM Broncos extension includes $124MM fully guaranteed. Denver’s deal locks the nine-time Pro Bowler in through at least 2025, due to a March 2024 guarantee trigger. Jackson, 25, being eight years younger than the former Super Bowl winner would give him an excellent case to bridge the gulf between Wilson’s guarantee figure and Watson’s $230MM total. As the Broncos and Cardinals’ offseason deals have shown, teams are determined to make the Browns’ Watson contract an outlier. Whereas Kirk Cousins received his fully guaranteed Vikings deal (three years, $84MM) in free agency, as the Jets lurked, four teams were vying for Watson via trade. The Browns only offered their shocking proposal after being eliminated earlier in the process.

With the Year 5 option and two franchise tags as leverage, the Ravens will not offer a $230MM guarantee. It will be interesting to learn what Baltimore has proposed, guarantee-wise. Those tag possibilities also can work in Jackson’s favor. Even the first of them, should the Ravens give Jackson the exclusive tag, would move toward the $45MM range. That would be an unprecedented cap-clogging figure for the team to navigate ahead of the 2023 free agency period. No deal coming together by Friday would put this saga on track toward tag No. 1 come March.

Ravens Rumors: Stanley, Powers, Jackson, Fackrell

Despite being activated off the team’s physically unable to perform list ten days ago, Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley had not been practicing with the team. That changed today as the former All-Pro returned to practice, according to a tweet from the team’s Twitter account.

Stanley is still attempting to come all the way back from an ankle injury suffered back in 2020. The blindside starter for Baltimore started in Week 1 last season despite feeling rushed to return to the lineup, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Stanley finished the game but would miss the remainder of the season after undergoing season-ending surgery for his ankle.

“It’s going to be in terms of when they tell us, and when he feels like he wants to get out there and do it,” head coach John Harbaugh said to the media last week concerning Stanley’s return. “He knows his ankle, and I know that Ronnie is very determined to be really at his very best when he comes back. That’s kind of part of his thinking on it. So, I trust him with it. I know he’s going to do the right thing and be out there as soon as he can.”

Stanley’s return to the practice field is a great sign but may not mean that he’ll be available in Week 1. Harbaugh also told the media that, ideally, he’d like players coming back from major injuries to have two to three weeks of practice before they play in a game, but, if he is truly serious about leaving in up to Stanley, the Ravens may get their star tackle back in time to face the Jets. In the event he doesn’t return on September 11, last year’s free agent addition, Ja’Wuan James, is listed as Stanley’s backup on the newly released depth chart.

Here a few other rumors coming out of Charm City, starting with another note about the offensive line depth chart:

  • On the Ravens’ depth chart that was released today, the supposed winner of a position battle was unveiled. The starting left guard on the depth chart is listed as Ben Powers. Powers has been with the Ravens since getting drafted in the fourth-round in 2019. In those three years, Powers has appeared in 30 games, starting 19. He became a full-time starter for the Ravens last season after the team had to reshuffle the offensive line when Stanley got surgery after Week 1. He started the next 12 games before missing the last four games with a foot injury. Then-rookie third-round pick Ben Cleveland filled in for Powers in those four games at left guard and was expected to push him for a starting role this offseason. Additionally, Ravens’ sixth-man Patrick Mekari was available to step in, in case either Powers or Cleveland couldn’t take hold of the starting job.
  • More of the same is being reported in regards to the contract situation surrounding Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. Harbaugh reiterated that there has not been a single discussion hinting that Jackson would hold out and not play this season with a new deal. Neither party “has ever hinted at any animosity in negotiations” and, reportedly, Jackson remains “focused on the season.” Harbaugh explained, “He’s hopeful to get a new contract and we’re hopeful to get him a new contract. All the rest of it is business. There is nothing other than coming to something that is mutually agreeable.”
  • The Ravens worked out veteran linebacker Kyler Fackrell on Labor Day, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Fackrell spent Tuesday with the team, as well, as the team was able to sign him to their practice squad, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. Fackrell has started games for the Packers, Giants, and Chargers throughout his six years in the league, having his best season in 2018 when he racked up 10.5 sacks and 12.0 tackles for loss in Green Bay. Fackrell was placed on the Raiders’ season-ending injured reserve in late-July before being released a month later, so Fackrell joins rookie second-round pick David Ojabo as a pass rusher with whom the Ravens are being patient.

Ravens Increase Offer To Lamar Jackson?

Lamar Jackson has set Week 1 as a deadline for his latest round of extension talks with the Ravens. If this is indeed a hard deadline, the Ravens are running out of time to avoid this situation dragging to a 2023 franchise tag.

The team is believed to have increased its offer to Jackson, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports tweets. Baltimore will not do a fully guaranteed deal, despite Cleveland’s Deshaun Watson agreement, Anderson adds. This has long been the expectation, even though Jackson has been connected to seeking a contract containing more than the whopping $230MM guaranteed the Browns gave Watson.

Since Watson’s March extension agreement, the Broncos and Cardinals have extended their passers on deals worth more — in terms of AAV — than Watson’s $46MM. But neither Russell Wilson nor Kyler Murray secured close to the guaranteed money Watson did. Teams are treating that Browns contract like an outlier, one dictated by unique circumstances. If the Ravens are going to sign Jackson this week, they will likely be forced to authorize an extension that includes more than the $124MM fully guaranteed Wilson received. Probably a lot more.

The Ravens have been negotiating with Jackson since the 2021 offseason, when he first became eligible for a new deal. Those 2021 talks are believed to have included an offer worth more than Josh Allen‘s $43MM-per-year accord. This year, the team has been connected to an offer that exceeds Murray’s $46.1MM AAV. Nothing has come out regarding guarantees, though a Jackson tweet revealed the team’s expected reluctance to offer a fully guaranteed contract.

Jackson, 25, continues to operate without an agent. That has complicated this lengthy process. The former MVP negotiated in-season with the Ravens in 2021. If he is truly prepared to shut down talks this year, the next few days represent a pivotal stretch.

The former Heisman winner could continue to bet on himself, taking the risk of either an injury or a decline in play — Jackson’s QBR figures have fallen from first (2019) to eighth (2020) to 17th (’21) — dropping his value. But another entirely plausible scenario exists in which Jackson’s price rises again in 2022. The salary cap will continue to climb, and the threat of an exclusive 2023 tag putting upwards of $40MM on Baltimore’s cap sheet — which would hinder the team in free agency — would apply more pressure on the organization.

Dak Prescott‘s season-ending ankle injury did not limit him in his 2021 negotiations with the Cowboys, which involved the threat of a second tag clogging Dallas’ payroll. The Ravens also have a history of a quarterback betting on himself and winning. Joe Flacco did not sign a Ravens extension in 2012, going on to put together a strong playoff run that led the team to its second Super Bowl championship. The Ravens made Flacco the league’s first $20MM-AAV player — via a six-year, $120.6MM deal — before free agency in 2013. Times have changed on the QB market, with Aaron Rodgers — who topped Flacco’s deal soon after it was agreed to nine years ago — topping the current market at $50.3MM per year.

Flacco’s Baltimore successor remains tied to his $23MM fifth-year option salary. Jackson’s age, importance to the Ravens, and the cap’s renewed growth raise the stakes for the team. The run-oriented QB joining Rodgers in the $50MM-per-year club should not be ruled out. Will the team go there this week?

Latest On Ravens’ Lamar Jackson Contract Talks

With Week 1 quickly approaching, it is becoming less and less likely that an extension becomes finalized between the Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson before the latter’s self-imposed negotiating deadline. Recent remarks he made on social media hint at the type of contract the team has – or, more to the point, has not – offered him so far. 

Responding to a Twitter conversation stating that the Ravens had offered Jackson a fully guaranteed extension worth $250MM, the 25-year-old replied, “no they didn’t” (Twitter link). Such a deal would be in line with the unprecedented contract given to Deshaun Watson by the Browns, though that pact had a total value of $230MM.

Much has been made about Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti‘s comments made in the wake of that deal and the effect it was likely to have on future QB extensions. Indeed, it was reported last month that Jackson was seeking a second contract which was also guaranteed in full and, given his track record, higher in maximum value than Cleveland’s new signal-caller.

Two mega-deals have been signed at the position since the Browns’ acquisition of Watson: Kyler Murray‘s extension with the Cardinals (averaging $46.1MM per year) and, yesterday, the contract Russell Wilson signed which will keep him in Denver, presumably, for the remainder of his career ($49MM). Those extensions each include substantial guarantees, though they fall well short of the structure Watson’s deal is comprised of. As a result, the Ravens will no doubt point to the latter accord as the exception, rather than the rule, in the new QB market.

Baltimore was willing to match the annual value of Buffalo’s Josh Allen extension last offseason, which would have left Jackson on the books at an annual average of $43MM. A franchise tag would carry a similar cost if the team elects to use it next year, though doing so would have far different cap implications than an extension of the same value. How far the team is willing to go on the matter of guarantees – and the manner in which Jackson responds to those efforts – will be central to how this relationship proceeds.

Ravens Facing Uphill Battle To Extend Lamar Jackson?

We are in Lamar Jackson‘s 20th month of extension eligibility, and unless the Ravens can lock down their quarterback by Week 1, this saga will pass the two-year point. Jackson is not planning to negotiate in-season.

More information regarding terms has come out in this process. The Ravens are believed to have offered Jackson more than Kyler Murray is making, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports said during a TV appearance Sunday night (via Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio). The Cardinals gave Murray a five-year, $230.1MM extension in July.

While accepting this contract would make Jackson the NFL’s second-highest-paid passer, on average, Glazer added that Deshaun Watson‘s deal is complicating this process — one he deems an uphill battle for the Ravens. This marks the second report to link Watson’s outlier Browns contract, guarantee-wise, to the Ravens’ talks with Jackson. The former MVP was connected to pursuing a fully guaranteed deal surpassing Watson’s $230MM guarantee. Considering Watson’s full guarantee is nearly $130MM north of any other NFLer’s, Jackson trying to secure such terms obviously represents an issue in these complex negotiations.

The Ravens were believed to have offered a contract matching Josh Allen‘s $43MM-per-year pact during the sides’ 2021 negotiations, but the agent-less quarterback did not sign. It is unknown what the precise terms were in that proposal, beyond the AAV, just as it is unknown how the Ravens have structured their latest offer. But Murray, Watson and Aaron Rodgers have surpassed Patrick Mahomes‘ $45MM high-water AAV mark this offseason, raising the bar for Jackson. Baltimore’s three-time Pro Bowler, whose 2018 starter debut keyed a stretch that produced three straight playoff berths, targeting more than what Murray is making is unsurprising. With Rodgers’ $50.3MM figure — albeit on a shorter-term deal — more than $4MM north of Murray’s, a sizable gap for a potential Jackson deal exists.

If Jackson and the Ravens cannot agree on a deal by Week 1, the franchise tag scenario enters the equation. The team would have until the March 2023 deadline to tag Jackson. With the exclusive tag amount expected to come in north of $40MM for quarterbacks next year, that would represent a significant cap hold for the Ravens entering free agency. Dallas navigated around a tagged quarterback salary in 2020, extending Dak Prescott in 2021, but Washington did not, losing Kirk Cousins after two tagged seasons (2016-17).

Latest On Ravens, Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson‘s Ravens negotiations have not produced much in the way of prices, but the team looks to be prepared to pay the former MVP a top-market deal. Well, they were nearly there last year.

Patrick Mahomes‘ $45MM-per-year deal topped the quarterback market when the 2021 season ended, with Josh Allen‘s $43MM-AAV accord being second. During talks last year, the Ravens were prepared to hit the Allen threshold for Jackson, with Albert Breer of noting the team matched that AAV in a 2021 offer.

[RELATED: How Will Ravens’ Jackson Talks Conclude?]

It is not known how many years the Ravens proposed at the $43MM-per-year price or how the offer was structured, but Jackson did not budge. The Ravens were willing to concede Jackson was a $40MM-per-year QB during their 2021 negotiations, though the agent-less quarterback’s price has undoubtedly risen since. Aaron Rodgers, Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson have since bumped Mahomes and Allen down, AAV-wise, to Nos. 4 and 5 among NFL earners.

Jackson, 25, has obviously been patient here. Despite being extension-eligible since January 2021, the three-time Pro Bowler is less than a month away from his fifth-year option season. Jackson has also set a firm Week 1 deadline for negotiating with the Ravens — something he did not do last year. This raises the stakes for Baltimore’s negotiations, which seem to have picked up in recent weeks. This process has gone from Ravens decision-makers admitting the quarterback did not seem interested in a deal to Jackson indicating he hopes a contract comes to pass before Week 1.

The dual-threat QB has also been connected to wanting Watson-level guarantees. While Jackson is not in as strong a position to command that historic structure ($230MM fully guaranteed — $120MM north of any other NFLer’s guarantees), Watson’s contract has worked his favor. Jackson forcing this issue to the 2023 March franchise tag deadline runs the risk of his value dropping, via another injury or a decline in performance, but it also could prompt the Ravens to apply an exclusive tag. An injury also may not damage Jackson’s value at all, given how the Cowboys’ negotiations with Dak Prescott played out. Staring at a second Prescott tag clogging their cap sheet, the Cowboys came in with a big offer just before a tag needed to be applied in 2021.

An exclusive Jackson tag in 2023 would be worth around $45MM, Breer adds. A second tag in this scenario would top $50MM in 2024. While the Browns are evidently prepared to have Watson on their 2023 cap sheet at $54.9MM, no team has gone into a season with a player tied to a $45MM cap hit. The Ravens using the exclusive tag, which prevents offer sheets coming in, next year would leave a monster Jackson cap hold on the team’s books and hurt the organization in terms of adding talent in free agency.