How the Deshaun Watson trade impacts Lamar Jackson and the Ravens

Ravens, Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The NFL world is still reeling from the monumental trade that saw Deshaun Watson traded from the Houston Texans to the Cleveland Browns on Friday. That trade will have a direct impact on both the Baltimore Ravens and their star quarterback, Lamar Jackson.

The Watson trade changes a lot of things in the NFL, specifically in the AFC. Watson is yet another superstar quarterback in the conference and he joins a division already featuring the likes of Jackson and Joe Burrow.

Right now, the AFC is an absolute gauntlet. Half of the 16 teams in the conference currently have a top-12 quarterback. It’s hard to imagine something like that has ever happened before in NFL history.

This, of course, directly affects the Ravens who will now have to play Watson and the Browns twice a year. But beyond the surface level, this also impacts the team’s ongoing negotiations with Jackson.

The Deshaun Watson trade affects Lamar Jackson and the Ravens

The Ravens remain at odds with Jackson when it comes to extension talks. What once seemed like a formality now has both fans and members of the organization a little on edge.

Most assumed that the Ravens would extend Jackson some time before free agency this offseason. Whether that was last offseason, the summer, during the season, or over the last couple of months.

But despite the Ravens’ interest and persistence, Jackson appears to be in no hurry. It’s a gamble on his part as he seems determined to play out his rookie contract. He’s betting on himself, and at the same time, he’s watching as other quarterbacks reshape the landscape.

The NFL has already seen two massive quarterback extensions this offseason, first with Aaron Rodgers and now with Deshaun Watson. Those two contracts have completely changed the game.

Watson’s five-year, $230 million contract is fully guaranteed marking the most guarantees ever handed out in an NFL contract by a large margin. You’d better believe Jackson will be looking for something at least remotely similar in the near future.

Will it be a $230 million contract that’s fully guaranteed? Probably not. But with every record-setting contract agreed to, Jackson’s leverage and subsequent price only increases.

That, in essence, is why he’s waiting. He’s not only betting on himself — he’s betting on the market. And by the looks of things, he’s playing with house money.

The Deshaun Watson trade not only adds a new competitor to the AFC North and another obstacle to overcome on the field, but it also drives up the price tag for their star quarterback.

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Lamar Jackson is going to get paid eventually. The only questions that remain are when and how much.