Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson knows how to play two games in 2022: football, and the waiting game.
Jackson recently shut down rumors that he was planning to leave the franchise despite not securing a contract extension yet in 2022. He enters the fifth year of his rookie deal this season but stands to make a truckload of money given how the quarterback landscape has dramatically changed.
No agent? No problem. Jackson has done incredibly well for himself by biding his time and letting the chips fall into place.
On a recent episode of ESPN’s Get Up, former New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum complimented Jackson’s patience in a wild quarterback market this offseason:
"“Lamar Jackson is a great player and a Hall of Fame agent. He made 80 million dollars in the last few days by waiting. His stoic approach is unbelievable.Everybody is watching this deal because if he signs a Deshaun Watson contract, that’s the new normal. The eyes of the football world are centered on this negotiation.”"
And indeed, everyone will be looking to see how Jackson’s potential contract resets the market for the future as Jackson’s deal may directly affect younger quarterbacks like Kyler Murray, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert who will likely sign extensions with their current teams.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson can win in a big way this offseason
In a league where six quarterbacks are making $40 million or more a year, all Jackson needs to do is show the Ravens the numbers. Watson is making $46 million a year, Mahomes is making $45 million, Allen is making $43 million, and so on. Jackson deserves as hefty a contract as those elite quarterbacks and not a penny less.
Tannenbaum notes that Baltimore still has the option to franchise tag him, but who knows where the market will be a year from now.
Jackson himself is walking a thin line by stalling these negotiations since the smallest injury could take away his leverage. As a uniquely talented dual-threat, Jackson has the ability to weave in and out of defenders and maneuver his body to make accurate throws (albeit last season was not a good judge of his performance), and he’s no doubt the most important player on the team who simply can’t afford to get injured.
In 2021, Jackson missed six games due to injury after spending perhaps too much time in the pocket and taking one too many hard hits.
In 2022, behind a revamped offensive line, Jackson should be better protected and should be able to play a cleaner, more controlled game.
On the field, Jackson can continue to prove his talents as the quarterback of the Ravens’ future, but he can do so knowing he’s going to get paid very, very well by the end of this offseason or the next.