It’s not often that league MVP quarterbacks even enter the position in which the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson is. His contract is due to expire at the start of the new league year, at least until they franchise tag him.
There’s no item on the team’s agenda more important than finding a way to get him under contract for the long haul. They’ve only been trying for over a year. Yet many within that sphere remain confident it gets done, including his go-to target, tight end Mark Andrews.
That’s what he told Mike Florio earlier this week while appearing on Pro Football Talk Live. Asked if he ever has any doubts about that being a reality when his head hits the pillow at night, he said clearly that he does not.
“I think Lamar’s a Raven for life“, he said, via Sarah Ellison on Twitter. “I know the organization, I know they want Lamar, and I know that he has a lot of respect for the organization as well. I think both parties want to get this deal done. It’s just about doing it”.
The 32nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson has a stellar 45-16 record as a starter, but injuries have become a concern over the past two seasons. He has missed five games in each of those years, including at the end of year season for a several-game stretch.
One wonders if that isn’t a primary catalyst of the holding pattern we’ve seen. It is believed that Jackson wants a fully-guaranteed contract, but Baltimore would be more reluctant to even put that on the table for a quarterback who is liable to suffer significant injuries as he has.
Still, the sentiment Andrews expressed seems to be on the nose in that everybody appears to want this deal to get done. It’s just a matter of when—or perhaps yet still, if. Regardless of what happens, they’re going to franchise tag him. There’s no way they would ever dream of simply letting him hit unrestricted free agency—that much goes without saying. At worst, they would land a king’s ransom for him in trade.
So what is Andrews willing to do to help facilitate a deal getting done? “I’ll give him my paycheck if I have to”, he joked. Not that he doesn’t have a considerable salary. He already got his extension in 2021, signing a four-year, $56 million deal. That included a $30 million signing bonus.
Jackson’s would come in a big higher than that, one would imagine. The top of the quarterback market is now north of $50 million per season, with five quarterbacks getting at least $45 million I think the Ravens are more than willing to pay him in that range. But how much are they willing to fully guarantee? There’s the rub.