What Patrick Mahomes deal means for Lamar Jackson and Ravens

According to reports by Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Kansas City  Chiefs are giving Patrick Mahomes a landmark 10 year contract extension. Lamar Jackson won’t be far behind:

The past two MVP’s of the NFL are Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. Mahomes has already delivered the Kansas City Chiefs a Super Bowl championship. While the numbers of Mahomes’s contract aren’t official, Schefter has reported that it is believed to be a deal worth over $400 million. How does this affect the Ravens and their future with their MVP quarterback?

And before Chiefs fans chime in bemoaning that something this big is at least in part about Jackson too, I’ll remind you that this is Ebony Bird and we talk about the Ravens.

Jackson is on his way to being one of the highest paid quarterbacks in NFL history. It’s a matter of when, not a matter of if. The Chiefs drafted Mahomes in 2017 and had him locked up until 2021. They didn’t need to do this now, but they knew they had to do it at some point. The Chiefs had a once in a lifetime kind of player and they couldn’t let him ever think about getting away. They understood that his massive contract was inevitable.

The Ravens may not have a Super Bowl out of Jackson but they are in a very similar spot. They just had the best regular season record in franchise history. Jackson was the second unanimous MVP in NFL history. If Jackson raises the bar more in the 2020 season he’s going to prove that he’s on the same level as Mahomes. This time next year we could easily be talking about Jackson as a Super Bowl MVP. If there is one thing that I believe, it’s that the Ravens will win a Super Bowl with Jackson.

The thing that turns heads about the deal Mahomes has agreed to with the Chiefs, is that it’s a 10 year contract extension. It’s not a 10 year contract, it’s a 10 year extension added on to his rookie deal. The Chiefs literally just signed up for 12 seasons of Mahomes.

The biggest question mark about Jackson, at least from a national perspective, is his longevity. While Mahomes and Jackson are both dual threat quarterbacks, Jackson was the player with over 1,000 rushing yards in a season. Jackson does do a good job of avoiding the knockout blows, but he does take hits more than your typical quarterback. He takes chances that Mahomes doesn’t.

This time next year the Ravens could feel pressure to follow the Chiefs. Kansas City just made precedent. No matter what the numbers add up to, the Chiefs have forever changed how top level quarterbacks are paid early in their career. There will be ripples of this decision that impact other NFL teams and the Ravens are the only team who has a player even comparable to Mahomes.

Getting the big deal out of the way does have some advantages. The Ravens don’t have to get into contract negotiations now, but let’s be honest they aren’t far away. It will be compelling to see how many years the Ravens offer to Jackson when they want to extend his contract. It will be the ultimate chance to put their money where their mouth is in regards to the sustainability of this offense.

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The good thing about the time table for the Ravens is that they get to see how it unfolds for Kansas City. The Chiefs are starting a new way of doing things while Eric DeCosta gets to take notes for a year, or maybe even two. The Chiefs have to be the first team to pull this kind of move off while the Ravens have a model to either go by or to learn from.

It’s also worth noting that DeCosta doesn’t have to follow the Chiefs’ protocol. He can go about his plan and try to maximize the talent around Jackson in his rookie contract. The Chiefs have their Lombardi Trophy already. The Ravens are still trying to get there with Jackson and there is plenty of incentive to be patient and take advantage of his rookie contract. DeCosta and John Harbaugh have never been afraid to make their own path.

Jackson isn’t done growing at the quarterback position. The way we look at him in 2019 is way different than the way we saw him in 2018. Jackson is already playing at an astronomically high level. If Jackson gets better, the money he’s going to get will be very comparable to Mahomes. It might even be comparable if he stays at this level. I don’t mean to steal a line from Tony the Tiger but Jackson wasn’t good in 2019, he was great.

The Bottom Line:

The takeaway point is that the numbers are only getting higher for elite quarterbacks. The Chiefs had to make a landmark deal with Mahomes, and he was worth every penny. Assuming things stay on this track, Jackson will be a handsomely paid quarterback..

It’s important to remember that Jackson has a habit of following Mahomes. Mahomes was drafted in 2017 and was the MVP in 2018. Jackson was drafted in 2018 and was the MVP in 2019. It’s not exactly a secret that Mahomes and Jackson, who are the last two Madden cover athletes, are the faces of the new era of NFL football.

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Jackson has just as much potential as Mahomes (I dare say maybe even more). Mahomes got his epic contract. If the Ravens believe in Jackson the way they say they do, Jackson’s jaw dropping contract will not be far behind. Baltimore has to figure out how to make it work and getting ahead of it is certainly one way to do it next offseason.

 

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