The 2019 NFL MVP enters the 2021 season on the final year of his rookie contract, and neither side has given any indication when they will return to the table to negotiate an extension.
Fortunately, Jackson himself defused some of the tension at a press conference yesterday afternoon.
“I would love to be here forever,” said Jackson. “I love Baltimore. I love the whole organization. I love everybody in the building. Hopefully, we’ll be making something happen pretty soon whenever.”
Lamar Jackson wants to play for the Ravens “forever”
Jackson added that he and Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta had a brief conversation regarding his contract “a month or two ago.”
While quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott have received blockbuster contract extensions in the nine-digit range, the Ravens’ front office hasn’t shown quite the same urgency to lock their own superstar quarterback down for the long term.
In fact, according to Pro Football Talk, the two sides didn’t speak to each other regarding Jackson’s contract situation until shortly before April’s 2021 NFL Draft.
Instead, DeCosta and the front office have spent the offseason reinforcing the rest of the team around Jackson.
The Ravens have boosted their much-maligned wide receiver corps with the addition of Sammy Watkins through free agency, as well as Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace in the draft.
For the moment, the Ravens have perhaps the NFL’s biggest bargain with Lamar Jackson, who stands to earn roughly $1.77 million in 2021.
By contrast, his bitter AFC rival, Patrick Mahomes, is set to earn over $22.8 million — a figure that will rise when his 10-year, $450 million mega-deal takes effect in 2022.
Further complicating matters is that, unlike Mahomes and Prescott, Jackson has never had an agent represent him throughout his NFL career. When asked whether or not he would represent himself, ESPN quoted him as saying, “Maybe. We’ll see.”
A month ago, the Ravens exercised Jackson’s fifth-year option, which will most likely keep him in Baltimore through at least 2022. For that season, his salary will skyrocket to $23 million.
This will hopefully give both sides time to negotiate a long-term deal and avoid the media circus that plagued the Dallas Cowboys when they tried to extend Dak Prescott.
Ever since his elevation to the starting role midway through the 2018 season, Lamar Jackson has led the Ravens to three postseason appearances and two AFC North titles, while also taking home the 2019 NFL MVP award.
Last season, he won a postseason game for the first time in his career, while also becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in more than one season.
In his three-year career so far, Jackson has thrown for 7,085 yards and 68 touchdowns while also rushing for 2,906 yards and 19 scores.