Lamar Jackson had every reason to not be satisfied with the contract extension that the Baltimore Ravens offered him.
The Ravens offered him more total money than what Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson received during the offseason, but it was the guaranteed money that didn’t line up. What has been reported is that Jackson wants something similar to the contract that Deshaun Watson received from the Cleveland Browns. Specifically, he desires the fully guaranteed money that Watson received and NFL franchises certainly would never want to be the norm for any position, even a starting quarterback.
However, the Ravens’ last reported offer is not as lucrative as it sounded. The entire contract was worth $250 million over five years, but this is the NFL. Likely, there is no way Jackson signs that contract and he sees every dollar.
Only $133 million of it was guaranteed. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported that Jackson wanted guaranteed money more in the neighborhood of what Watson is receiving, and that is the narrative that has been repeated by many NFL analysts. However, the reported guaranteed money that the Ravens offered is not only less than what the Cleveland Browns assured Watson, but it’s also less than what Wilson and Murray received. Would you rather one of those two quarterbacks on your favorite team than Jackson?
Last season was a tough one for the Ravens due to injuries, but when Jackson was healthy he had them in the running for the best record in the AFC. The offensive line, defensive backfield, and running back room was decimated, yet the Ravens were still 8-3 on the final day of November. Then they didn’t win a game the rest of the season and Jackson suffered a season-ending injury on Dec. 12.
As a team, the Ravens are gradually getting healthier. J.K. Dobbins and Marlon Humphrey returned to the field in Week 3. Once Ronnie Stanley returns to the offensive line, the Ravens roster will be as close to full strength as it has been in a while, but so far in 2022, a depleted roster hasn’t hindered Jackson in any way.
Through three games he has passed for 749 yards and 10 touchdowns, and is also averaging 9.4 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns on the ground. It wasn’t his fault that the Ravens lost to the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. They scored 38 points and he accounted for 437 total yards, three passing touchdowns and one on the ground.
The Ravens fought off the New England Patriots on Sunday, and again Jackson was spectacular. He threw four touchdown passes, and still managed to rush for 107 yards on 11 carries. Jackson’s only touchdown on the ground was the score that put the game out of reach for the Patriots.
Jackson is not 6-foot-5. He’s not as strong as Josh Allen, and he can’t pass like Patrick Mahomes. But he is a force. Not only is he arguably the most elusive runner in the league, but since college he finishes most of those runs through opposing defenders.
Also, Jackson has most of the attributes desired from an NFL pocket passer. He sees the field better than the overwhelming majority of NFL quarterbacks, and has the arm to get the football to his pass catchers wherever they are on the field.
Jackson is the best player in the NFL and thus the Ravens front office needs to rework the guaranteed numbers on that last contract offer immediately if they want to compete for Super Bowls.
Lamar Jackson isn’t Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, or Aaron Rodgers, but they also aren’t him. The Ravens are lucky to have Jackson, and whatever success that franchise will have in the near future will come from his legs and right arm, and the Ravens need to make him an offer that shows that they acknowledge that fact.