After failing to reach an agreement on a contract extension, Lamar Jackson will enter the 2022 season without long-term security.
The team broke the news after months of negotiations with Jackson, during which it was regularly compelled to respond to questions about the talks. The Ravens released a statement before noon on Friday instead of reaching a final deal by Jackson’s deadline.
The statement from Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta read, “Despite best efforts on both parties, we were unable to strike a contract extension with Lamar Jackson. “We are thrilled with our team, with Lamar leading the way, and we sincerely appreciate how he has handled this process. After the current season, we will continue to negotiate a long-term contract, but for now, we are anticipating a successful 2022 season.
Jackson will remain in Baltimore for next seasons, according to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, even though an agreement was not reached before the 2022 season.
Although I wasn’t directly involved in any back and forth, Harbaugh observed, “You’re hopeful.” “I have faith that those problems will resolve themselves in the end. That will occur when the moment is right, I believe I mentioned from the outset. And it will occur when the moment is right. Lamar is the quarterback and will continue to be the quarterback for a while. Yesterday, we briefly discussed it, saying things like, “Hey dude, let’s go be our best and go focus on football.” And that is what he has been doing the entire time. I only concentrated on Sunday since I knew that wouldn’t alter anything.”
Jackson’s services for a significant chunk of the upcoming decade were something DeCosta stated a strong desire to secure during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis back in early March. DeCosta told reporters, “He knows how to find me; I know how to find him,” suggesting that the two parties were still at odds in the early stages of discussions.
They eventually found each other, but not quickly enough to close a transaction.
With no security beyond 2022, Jackson enters the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, leaving himself vulnerable to a major injury that might lower his worth. Baltimore, on the other hand, is taking a chance by failing to sign the 2019 AP NFL MVP and letting him veer dangerously near to free agency.
In terms of specifics of the negotiations, not much has happened. Jackson doesn’t have a representative who could skew public perception by releasing details of a proposal. Instead, he has carried on as usual while refusing to be silent on Twitter, liking a fictitious photo of him wearing a Dolphins uniform and taking pleasure in the ongoing debate over his lack of a long-term contract.
The total amount of money could resolve the impasse. One of the first people to object to paying one player (in this case, Watson specifically) so much money was Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. Deshaun Watson’s fully guaranteed, $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns shifted the scales in the quarterback market.
He had good reason to respond in that way. The Ravens were put on the clock as soon as Watson signed the historic contract with the Browns, much like they were when Josh Allen, the seventh-overall choice in Jackson’s draft class, agreed to a six-year, $258 million extension more than a year ago.
Even for an NFL owner, it is not exactly pocket change. But in the end, it comes down to how highly the Ravens regard Jackson. Although they haven’t won a Super Bowl with him, they consistently rank among the contenders. Are they prepared to pay for that prestige even though they are aware that it hasn’t yet resulted in a ring?
And will Jackson take this up again at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign? Or are we on the verge of the unfathomable in 2023 when Jackson becomes a free agent?
Although the franchise tag would prohibit that, this is still an odd and intriguing scenario that isn’t likely to be resolved very soon. It would certainly be much simpler if we were to win the Lombardi Trophy.