Conflicting reports emerged early regarding Lamar Jackson extension talks with the Ravens. The self-represented quarterback has, in fact, engaged in discussions with the team, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (video link). While it does not sound like the talks have progressed too far, GM Eric DeCosta said he and Jackson have spoken about the framework of a deal, Hensley adds. An earlier report indicated the Ravens and Jackson were not close on terms, and while that may be, DeCosta confirmed true negotiations will commence at some point. John Harbaugh said earlier this year a Jackson extension would likely come to pass either this offseason or in 2022. Jackson is due just $1.77MM in base salary this season.
Several quarterbacks — Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson — have opted for extensions going into their fourth seasons in recent years, rather than earn rookie-contract money in Year 4. Dak Prescott waited, and that worked out well. Prescott’s new deal figures to help Jackson, as do the impending new TV deals that could restore the NFL’s salary cap growth. The Ravens will certainly pick up Jackson’s fifth-year option — a fully guaranteed $23.1MM — in May, giving them more time to work out a deal.
Here is the latest from the North divisions:
- After trading Geno Atkins‘ longtime defensive line mate, the Bengals are not committing to bringing back their perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle. Cincinnati shipped Carlos Dunlap to Seattle, after reducing his role last season, and used Atkins in a part-time capacity during his eight-game 2020 season. The 11-year veteran battled a shoulder injury last season. “We’ll see what if any of the room we need to do some other things. It’s a fluid situation,” Bengals player personnel director Duke Tobin said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Tyler Dragon. “… He’s a homegrown product, really a success story and a guy I have loved watching grow over the years. He gave us what he had last year but it was not near what he’s used to and what we are used to seeing.” Atkins, who will turn 33 later this month, should not be expected back on a $14.7MM cap number. It will be interesting to see how the Bengals proceed with their seven-time Pro Bowler.
- Having missed out on J.J. Watt, the Browns are expected to pursue a big-ticket defensive end to complement Myles Garrett. They created another vacancy up front, cutting Adrian Clayborn after one season.