What Lamar Jackson is doing
Quarterback contracts get bigger every offseason. The simple nature of a league with an exploding salary cap that puts an increasing emphasis on the quarterback market means that the biggest quarterback deal is almost always going to be the next one.
Remember a mere 24 months ago when we were stunned at the unprecedented, record-breaking nature of the contract extension Patrick Mahomes signed with the Chiefs? Well, he is now fourth in AAV, with Josh Allen sitting just behind him at fifth when just five months ago he was second.
Jackson also has to worry less about the possibility of an injury affecting his contract, because the Dak Prescott situation showed that teams are going to give out the money regardless of what happens.
In order to understand why Jackson has handled these negotiations the way he has, it is imperative to both understand the nature of how quarterbacks deals evolve and once again re-emphasize the most important point — he does not have an agent.
When an athlete indicates he wants to re-sign with a team and gives his agent the green light to begin negotiations, it is always in the agent’s best interests to get the deal done as fast as possible.
Even though the cost of a quarterback rises every year in the NFL, an agent is only allowed to make a maximum of 3% of his client’s contract, meaning that say a $5-10 million difference in AAV (average annual value) would actually net out to $150,000-$300,000 at most for the agent.
That money is easily made up by the simple elevation of status that comes with negotiating such a monster deal for the quarterback, meaning the agent gets one extra year of being able to use the contract to promote themselves to new potential clients.
And as for the quarterback?
Well, most of them hire the agent to do their negotiating and will simply listen to what they, and not many people would turn down the long-term security and hundreds of millions of dollars that come with signing these massive deals, so they just go ahead and sign the contracts.
But the truth is they would be best served waiting, and probably should not be signing these deals after their third season in the league.