The Baltimore Ravens may have to break the bank for Lamar Jackson at some point. What should be the plan if Lamar Jackson gets Patrick Mahomes kind of money?
The Baltimore Ravens will soon have another quarterback consuming a large chunk of their cap space. It may take a year or two, but the Ravens will have to address their long-term future with Lamar Jackson down the line.
One thing that Baltimore learned after winning the Super Bowl and giving Joe Flacco a huge contract is that spending big on the quarterback position is a burden on the salary cap. Looking back at it, Flacco’s deal wasn’t that bad, but at the time is was the richest deal in NFL history. If the Ravens keep Jackson for his entire career, they are going to be paying him an incredible amount of money and there will be stars the Ravens can’t hold on to. Who should Eric DeCosta prioritize keeping around Jackson?
The Ravens need to maximize their investment in Jackson. The most important players to keep around him are Ronnie Stanley and Mark Andrews. Counting this season the Ravens have Andrews under contract for another two years. Stanley will become a free agent after this season and he will have a chance to be the highest paid left tackle in football.
Why are these the two players the Ravens absolutely must keep for Jackson? With Stanley it’s fairly self explanatory. He’s the left tackle and he’s a good one. He protects the MVP and the face of the franchise. It’s a bit more than that though, as the Ravens would find it nearly impossible to find a left tackle that better fits Greg Roman’s offense. If your quarterback is going to run for over 1,000 yards, your left tackle has to protect him down the field, not just in the pocket.
The Ravens have to keep Andrews because he is such a reliable target over the middle of the field. Jackson loves to use the middle of the field in the passing game and Andrews is a match up problem for NFL defenses. On top of this, Andrews and Jackson have a great chemistry. Andrews is to Jackson what Anquan Boldin was to Flacco. That’s unequivocally his guy.
If the Ravens can only give big money to three players on offense it’s going to have to be Jackson, Stanley and Andrews. The good news for the Ravens is the tight end position doesn’t pay out the way quarterback and left tackle does. According to Spotrac.com, Zach Ertz is the top paid tight end in the NFL with a cap hit of just over $12 million. While contracts will rise for everybody, Andrews isn’t going to be a $20 million per year kind of investment.