The 2019 MVP is coming off a down year, but so are many of the other quarterbacks in his conference.
Jackson is coming off a career-worst season in 2021 that saw him throw just 16 touchdowns against 13 interceptions in 12 games, and heading into 2022 the Ravens’ offense will depend on him to play a cleaner, tighter game.
This year’s free agency featured some of the biggest moves in the past decade that will change the AFC landscape in 2022, but Jackson has earned his right as a top-five AFC quarterback — when healthy, of course.
Some people beg to differ.
Pundits Brandon Lee Towton and Rob Guerrera of “The SB Nation NFL Show” recently released their AFC quarterback rankings and had Jackson at a measly seventh.
Towton pointed out Jackson’s mediocre playoff record as a major factor for why he misses the top-five:
"“You can’t just ignore the playoff thing. That’s totally relevant… Think about the contract Lamar Jackson is potentially going to get. The biggest contract ever. And given the Deshaun Watson extension, it can be fully guaranteed. So it’s a huge commitment that you’re making for multiple years to a guy with one playoff win in four tries and a passer rating of 68.3.”"
Notably, Denver Broncos’ Russell Wilson and Cleveland Browns’ Deshaun Watson were ranked above him, despite Wilson being 33-years-old and Watson not having touched a football since 2020.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson once again gets disrespected in QB rankings
Few would argue about the cream of the AFC quarterback crop which includes Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. Unless Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers decide to end their careers in the AFC, that reigning duo likely won’t change.
Jackon’s 1-3 postseason record stands out in an ugly way, but Watson only has one career playoff win too, and Los Angeles Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert has yet to make it there in the first place.
Even with Joe Burrow’s stock soaring after his recent Super Bowl run, a case could still be made for Jackson placing fourth or fifth considering the revolutionary impact he’s made in Baltimore.
Jackson and Mahomes both have won an MVP award, and only Mahomes has posted an overall higher winning percentage (0.794) than Jackson (0.755).
Jackson suffered a bout of Mahomes syndrome himself last season, but he also looked godly and unbeatable in competitive matchups against the Chargers and the Chiefs.
Long ridiculed as “just a running back,” Jackson’s regular-season dominance in the AFC North in the past four years should not be so easily overlooked.
The dual-threat QB has steadily improved his passing game after embarrassing early playoff exits and possesses the talent to keep the Ravens at the top of their division for many years to come.
Younger than Wilson and more relevant than Watson, Jackson will never escape the scathing criticism of his quarterback play but he won’t ever be “figured out,” either.
Year after year, Lamar Jackson gets underestimated, and year after year, Jackson proves his doubters wrong.