It’s officially the year of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens

Ravens. Lamar Jackson Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens. Lamar Jackson Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports /

Yes, I get it, the caption is bold.  With many big quarterback deals signed and no deal for Lamar Jackson now at his self-imposed deadline, we are left to wonder, where is Jackson’s deal?

Will he get the guaranteed money of Deshaun Watson with the Cleveland Browns, or will he get a contract structured more like Russell Wilson’s new Denver Broncos contract?  A lot of people are asking why did he not sign a contract and I am here to tell you that maybe it’s for the best.

Lamar Jackson, a former NFL MVP at the age of 22, the leader of the Baltimore Ravens, and the man with a very strong 37-12 (.755%) record. That record is so strong it is the second best in the NFL since Jackson has been named the starter and has led the Ravens to the playoffs three years in a row.

This year, a lot of the national media is not speaking highly of them and considering them underdogs this year and the Ravens thrive here. And this is the point we will start with.

In 2008, the Baltimore Ravens drafted a man out of the University of Delaware standing 6-foot-6 named Joe Flacco. Flacco impressed in his starting years in the league and was being thought of as a potential franchise QB.

Although he was contract extension eligible and many other QBs had signed deals recently, the Ravens were not yet ready to reset the market on a deal for Flacco and he bet on himself. With only the fifth-year option left, Flacco was a man on a mission.

Does this sound familiar yet?

Flacco led the team to a 44-20 record in the four years prior and in 2012 was 10-6 and took them to the playoffs as the sixth seed in the AFC after four consecutive playoff runs.

For the Ravens, what comes next was nothing short of a historic playoff run, with memories like the Mile High Miracle, that led the team to be the champions of the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers.

On the backs of Ray Lewis’ retirement season and on the backs of the loss of former owner Art Modell, the franchise had all the right inspiration to strike gold and did just that.

Flacco took that season and signed a six-year, $120 million dollar extension that effectively and temporarily reset the quarterback market.

For whatever your opinion is on how that contract played out, at the time Baltimore was thrilled that they got their franchise quarterback and had a lot of hope for the future.

Although the future was not as fruitful as they had hoped it was still a success, with a total record of 82-56 and six playoff appearances. They still succeeded and eventually reset to be successful in the long-term future.

If the Lamar Jackson era did not start yet, welcome to the Lamar Jackson era because I believe we are all in for something special.

The Ravens are officially in the Lamar Jackson era

Now let’s get back to the contract, the focal point of this article. What the national media lacks to notify us all is the fact that Lamar Jackson has never once not shown up for mandatory practices and has never slowed down his practice.

As head coach John Harbaugh has repeatedly said, “(Lamar) is locked in.” Earlier I compared this to Joe Flacco, but I want to also compare this to Kirk Cousins who also had himself a temporary market resetting quarterback contract extension in 2018.

Cousins ended up receiving two franchise tags with Washington before signing his three-year fully guaranteed contract with the Minnesota Vikings.

The franchise tag is good for the team and the player although it has developed a negative connotation due to its lack of long-term stability.

What the franchise tag does offer is guaranteed, top-of-the-line money. It also offers the team more time to negotiate, while keeping the player under contract and therefore under team control.

Now, breaking down the variations of franchise tags and how that works is a conversation for another day but this is a tool that needs to be remembered when considering Jackson’s contract.

The other factor to consider is the fact that Lamar Jackson, the man picked 32nd overall who told the whole nation he was bringing Baltimore a Super Bowl. He got purple bird wings tattooed on his chest.

He’s coined multiple phrases and defied the odds with the only team in the NFL that bet on him. Both parties are fully committed to each other and like each other.

This is a situation where you should avoid media narratives because the team and the player are in contact, on the same page, and cordial. Jackson hasn’t held out or shown that he may have an interest in that.

His teammates like him and support him, sharing support for him to get paid. This is a good situation, there is no need to buy into the hype the national media has created.

Thinking into that further, with contract detail reports being leaked to the press we must consider where the facts are and what is the source. Not saying the reports are false, but they may be misconstrued.

Jackson is represented by himself and his mother. He has no agent. The Ravens have no benefit of leaking any information to the press and are notorious for being tight-lipped.

So, thinking about the fact that most reports are coming from agents to media to get clients’ attention, I highly doubt we can put too much stock in these reports anyways as there is no true way to know what the discussions between general manager Eric DeCosta and Jackson are saying.

With all this being said, let’s look at Jackson. Jackson has been training with Adam Dedeaux. The Ravens also brought Dedeaux to multiple practices at the beginning and end of training camp to help Jackson and the team in tandem.

There is no lacking in preparation between the Ravens or from the Jackson parties and fans should be excited about that. Another Ravens quarterback, one who is already an MVP being doubted and in need of a contract. We have seen this before.

The Ravens are locked and loaded behind Jackson, with the best backfield of his career if fully healthy, possibly the best tight end group he has had, and the deepest offensive line he has had in his career.

The Ravens also have a deep defense, although some slight holes in the linebacker grouping, the defense has versatile pieces, and the skill to be a strong group. As always, the team’s special teams unit is expected to be strong, and the Ravens are focused on the New York Jets in Week 1.

With that said, if you are a fan of the Ravens — or just a fan of football — get ready. This team should be fun, exciting, and set to surprise. This is a position that John Harbaugh and company are used to — this team is ready to thrive.

Next. Ravens and Lamar Jackson don’t agree to extension: What comes next?. dark

Let the doubters doubt as the team thrives in the noise. Don’t worry about Lamar Jackson’s contract, because this is the year of Jackson and the Ravens, and he will be rewarded accordingly on the back end like those before him.