Baltimore Ravens fans were optimistic that quarterback Lamar Jackson’s participation at mandatory minicamp would lead to a new contract for the starting quarterback. On the contrary, it appears that the former NFL MVP is already into his training for the upcoming 2022 season and yet has shown no signs of wanting to talk. Check out the best bookmakers for betting on the NFL.
Jackson’s decision to skip voluntary OTAs sparked headlines and considerable discussion. Nonetheless, the team’s marquee player is back with the rest of the Ravens as they prepare for training camp. Right now, the 25-year-old quarterback appears uninterested in signing a long-term contract while he plays out the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.
A look at Lamar Jackson’s first practice with the Ravens this offseason … pic.twitter.com/bL9IUWuwEO
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) June 14, 2022
Despite the situation, a deal may still be hoped for by some, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that it won’t be reached in time for Week 1. Once that isn’t an option, Jackson won’t talk about a deal during the season.
It appears that Jackson is using the same strategy he did in 2021. In an effort to make him one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL, the Ravens approached him about a multi-year agreement. But he told the team that he was only thinking about the next season and that he would deal with the issue after the year was over.
The most lucrative deal on average per year for a quarterback has increased from Patrick Mahomes’ $45 million to Aaron Rodgers’ $50 million since Jackson was available for an extension 15 months ago. On the other hand, the maximum total guaranteed money has increased from Mahomes’ $141.4 million to Deshaun Watson’s $230 million.
As the numbers show, the quarterback had a rough year in 2021. Jackson has a career-low 16 touchdown passes in 2021.
He threw 13 passes, a career high, and his passer rating of 87.0 was his lowest since his first year in the league.
“He is a unique cat, and what are you going to do with a guy who wants to be unique?” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said in March. “You don’t browbeat him into being a conformist.”
In spite of all of this difficulty, though, the Ravens have realized that they are not very strong without Jackson. He was sidelined for most of six games, and five of them ended in losses for Baltimore.
Jackson led Baltimore to a 7-4 record, but the team went 1-5 in games in which he did not play a significant role.
“We’re taking him as we take him,” Bisciotti said. “We appreciate him. All I know is that his teammates love him, and the front office loves him. It’s like, ‘You just keep doing Lamar, and we’ll make it work somehow’.“
The plan of the 25-year-old is very obvious at this stage. Jackson will earn $23.016 million in salary this year before becoming a free agent in 2023. After delaying negotiations for a year,
Baltimore will use the exclusive franchise tag on him in 2023 and pay him another massive guaranteed sum (over $30 million) before he even reaches the open market. Each year, the NFL sets a deadline after which teams are prohibited from signing franchise-tagged players to multi-year contracts.
The reason is quite straightforward. Jackson will become far too expensive to obtain the tag for a third consecutive year after earning $40 million or more guaranteed on the second rag in 2024. Once his contract expires, he will be free to negotiate a contract with any team.
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