With OTAs now underway, we are getting the opportunity to hear from a lot of players all around the league that we have heard little or nothing from since the end of last season. As an outlet that covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, we also like to keep tabs on their AFC North opponents, and strive to provide a bit of coverage in that strain each day.
Perhaps the biggest global topic in the AFC North right now is that of quarterbacks, and particularly about long-term commitments. Both the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens are in the position right now where they must decide when (or much less likely, if) they will commit to their current quarterbacks. One of them, the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, discussed his situation yesterday when speaking to the media.
Jackson was asked how contract talks are going, and he said that he spoke to general manager Eric DeCosta “probably like a month or two ago”, but the Ravens, particularly under DeCosta, have a pretty clear history of getting contracts done early with the players they view as long-term pieces of their puzzle.
“I would love to be here forever”, he added. “I love Baltimore. I love the whole organization. I love everybody in the building. But hopefully we’ll be making something happen pretty soon or whenever”.
In terms of success, Jackson’s start to his career is among the best all-time. While may be 1-3 in the postseason to date, his overall regular season win-loss record is 30-7.
The 32nd-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft became the youngest player and the second unanimous selection to win the league MVP Award in 2019. That season, he led the NFL in touchdown passes, albeit in a down year for the statistic, with 36 (which is still more than any Steelers quarterback has ever thrown). He went 265-for-401 for 3127 yards with only six interceptions. He also rushed for 1206 yards with seven more touchdowns.
Last season was a bit more inconsistent, going 242-for-376 for 2757 yards, with 26 touchdown passes to nine interceptions. He still rushed for another 1005 yards and seven more touchdowns, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to record multiple 1000-yard rushing seasons.
Back in January, DeCosta said that “our intention – and my intention – is to keep him in Baltimore for many, many years”, making it rather clear that the matter of a new contract is about when, rather than if. Technically, Jackson will be under contract for the 2022 season already under the fifth-year option, but some players, particularly quarterbacks, often receive their new contract going into their fourth year rather than their fifth, as Patrick Mahomes did a year ago.