‘Hall of Fame Agent’? Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson’s wait time pays off

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has established himself as one of the best players in football, setting records and creating highlights with his ability to dodge defensive players.

Now Jackson is reaping praise for being at the top of the game with how he has handled his contract situation.

By not signing an extension last season as Buffalo Bill’s quarterback Josh Allen, Jackson has positioned himself to earn at least $ 130 million more in guaranteed money and over $ 7 million more per game. season. One of the few NFL players not represented by an agent, Jackson gets patted just as loudly as when he threw in over 400 yards and four touchdowns.

“If I’m Lamar Jackson, I’m going in [Ravens owner] Steve Bisciotti’s office and I simply put my feet up on his desk and say, ‘Hey, good news to you, Mr Bisciotti, I do not want $ 1 more than Deshaun Watson. But oh, by the way, I do not take $ 1 less. So when you’re ready to sign a $ 230 million check, I’ll sign it, “former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum told ESPN’s Get Up. and representing himself, he will actually step down as Hall of Fame agent. “

Like Allen, Jackson was eligible for a contract extension last offseason. Unlike Allen, Jackson chose not to pursue a new deal.

Last summer, Allen signed a six-year extension of $ 258 million, which averages $ 43 million per season and includes $ 100 million guaranteed at signing. This offseason, quarterback contracts have broken previous benchmarks, with Aaron Rodgers landing a $ 50 million a year deal with the Green Bay Packers, and Watson receiving a $ 230 million guaranteed contract ($ 80 million more than any other former NFL player) with Cleveland Brune.

It remains to be seen what Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson can do over the next year. Murray reportedly wants an extension with the Arizona Cardinals before the NFL draft in late April. And Wilson is in line for a new deal after being traded to the Denver Broncos.

“It’s one of the great things about Lamar Jackson, he’s very unique,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said at the league meetings this week. “He’s just a guy who does not get caught up in things that, whether he can” If he does not control or does not want to take on that time, he will not worry about it.

“If it means anything to him, then of course it will be a priority at this point. I’m sure we would get something done. He has his reasons, thinks as he does. Basically, what he shares with me is : ‘I need to focus on being the best quarterback I can be. I need to get to work.’ Beyond that, I think when the time comes, it will happen. “

On Tuesday, Bisciotti wondered if Jackson would take the same path as quarterback Kirk Cousins, who chose not to sign with Washington after his rookie deal expired in 2016. Cousins ​​then received the franchise label twice before hitting free agency in 2018, when he returned to sign a fully-guaranteed three-year, $ 84 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings. His average annual salary of $ 28 million was the highest in NFL history.

Jackson, 25, is in his fifth year option, which will pay him $ 23.016 million this season. If the parties can not agree on a new deal, Baltimore would be forced to use the franchise mark on him in 2023 and 2024 to prevent him from gaining free agency. Under that scenario, Jackson would hit free agency in 2025 at the age of 28. Bisciotti estimated that quarterbacks would earn $ 60 million per season by that time.

“With Lamar, you never know, it’s not really in his mind when I talk to him,” Harbaugh said. “I would love that something was done. I think he’s planning to do something. We’re planning to do something at some point.”

No one knows Jackson’s plans because he has not talked much about his contract situation, other than to say that his focus lies elsewhere, such as winning a Super Bowl and improving as a quarterback. On Wednesday, Jackson erupted with speculation that he would leave Baltimore, tweeting that he loves the Ravens.

One argument is that Jackson should seek to be paid immediately because of his style of play. Whether it’s driving or trying to extend play, Jackson has been hit 736 times since taking over as the Ravens’ starting quarterback in the mid-2018 season. That’s 64 times more than any other quarterback during that time.

If Jackson incurs significant damage, it could lower its value. Jackson, however, has been very durable. He missed the last four games last season due to a bone bruise in his right foot, but it was the first time he had missed any games in his four-year career due to an injury. He was also injured while trying to throw the ball and did not run down the field.

Bisciotti does not see this as a major risk. He pointed out how Burrow tore his ACL in 2020 and led the Bengals to the Super Bowl a year later.

“Oh, Lamar is more receptive? He’s not,” Bisciotti said. Do you know what I mean? Burrow did not run. He was in his pocket. He gets crushed and he tears his ACL.

“The running quarterback, a higher propensity for injury, people have been willing to bet on it as a must-to-be, and I do not know anyone has ever backed it up from any kind of investigation. I just do not know. Is. has anyone ever done that. Have you ever seen it? They talk about it as if it’s gospel, as if you’re a running quarterback, you’re more susceptible to injury. It’s like, show me. Show me. the statistics. I’ve never seen them. “

The Ravens have made it clear that they want to make a long-term commitment to Jackson. The uncertainty is when Jackson will start engaging in contract negotiations and how much it will cost to get the deal completed.

“I think without a QB that you believe in, life is sour as an NFL owner and a fan base,” Bisciotti said later, adding, “We pay him when he’s ready.”

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