Now that training camps have finished, the only quarterback situation that remains unresolved is Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens are still not in agreement with a contract extension for the 2019 league MVP. All the other quarterbacks from the 2018 NFL Draft have their situations resolved, whether it’s a new deal (Josh Allen) or their teams have moved on (Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield).
It’s obvious that the Ravens want to keep Jackson for as long as they want, but they can’t risk getting into his fifth season in the league knowing that he can become a free agent next year. Sure, there’s the franchise tag, but are the Ravens really willing to let Lamar walk into the next offseason without a new deal?
The team and the player have been talking about a new deal – Jackson does not have an agent and negotiates by his own – but there’s nothing that says they’re close to an extension so far. He seemed to be optimistic talking about it during a recent press conference, but he also made it clear to the team that, once the season begins, there will be no more contract talks. It’s going to be focus on the season and the season only.
Obviously, Baltimore wants to keep him for the long term. He presents a unique skill set that’s both impossible to replicate and very difficult to defend for opposing teams. Although the outside criticism sometimes is harsh, everyone with a functional brain knows that Lamar Jackson is a superstar quarterback and every team would like to have him. The new deals for Deshaun Watson with the Cleveland Browns (five-year, $230M) and Kyler Murray with the Arizona Cardinals (five-year, $230,5M) set the baseline for Jackson.
There was no ‘hold in’ for Lamar during training camp like other stars did. He practiced and gave his best to get a Super Bowl like every other year. But that doesn’t mean that he’s happy with his current situation – and as soon as the games start, there will be no more talks.
The Ravens should absolutely get on with this deal and get it done sooner than later.