The big topic in Pittsburgh right now is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his big salary cap hit. But before long, the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens are going to be strapped with big cap hits for their quarterbacks, as well. That’s the price of doing business when you have a franchise player at the position—so you’d better take advantage of their rookie deal.
Both Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson are coming into their fourth seasons, often a time when first-round quarterbacks get their first major deal. For the Browns, they already set the precedent last year when they gave Myles Garrett the then-largest contract ever for an edge defender after his third season, so it would be disingenuous to make Mayfield wait.
Then there is Jackson, who, while he failed to make the Pro Bowl this past season, was a unanimous MVP the year before, and has done things that nobody in NFL history has ever accomplished, like rushing for 1000 yards in two different seasons from the quarterback position. So where does he stand with regards to a new deal
“There is certainly a chance of that. I will be talking with Lamar probably within the next 10 days or so”, said Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta. “He’s got a great relationship with this organization. He’s a very easy person to talk to, and certainly deserves a contract. He has played phenomenal football over the last couple of years, and our intention – and my intention – is to keep him in Baltimore for many, many years”.
The 32nd-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson was Joe Flacco’s backup for most of his rookie season, but when Flacco got injured, he took over a losing team and finished the regular season 6-1, storming back to win the division and reach the playoffs, though they would lose in the opening round.
The following year, Baltimore would go 14-2, claiming the number one seed, but would be upset in their first playoff game once again. This past season, they lost the division but still went 11-5, and were able to get out of the first round of the playoffs, but have yet to make it out of the divisional round with Jackson through three seasons of play.
Needless to say, giving Jackson tens of millions of dollars a year will certainly put a dent in the Ravens’ salary cap flexibility, but if they believe in him as the quarterback who is capable of delivering them championships, then, like every other team with a franchise quarterback, it’s a price they’ll gladly pay, because that’s simply what it costs to have one.