Lamar Jackson won’t officially be a free agent until 2023, but he is in line for a big-time payday soon.
There’s no doubt that the Ravens will want keep Jackson under team control, barring something unforeseen. Jackson is one of the NFL’s most dynamic quarterbacks, after all, so Baltimore will try to sign him to an extension in short order. The team will almost certainly use the franchise tag on him if they can’t agree to one by the start of 2023 free agency.
Baltimore would probably like to get a deal done before that, however. The franchise tag game can get a bit tricky, so the team will probably try to lock in Jackson before that to secure their future.
But signing Jackson may not be easy. The 24-year-old quarterback will be representing himself in negotiations in lieu of an agent, so if the Ravens balk at Jackson’s price, that may push an extension agreement further into the future.
Lamar Jackson contract details
Jackson is still on his rookie deal. He was the 32nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and he signed a four-year contract worth about $9.5 million, per Spotrac. When the Ravens picked up his fifth-year option, that tacked on an extra year worth $23 million to the deal.
All money on Jackson’s fifth-year option will be guaranteed, and most of his rookie contract was guaranteed as well. So in the end, these are his rookie contract details.
Lamar Jackson’s rookie contract
When will Lamar Jackson sign his extension?
There is no hard timeline for the Ravens and Jackson to agree upon an extension. He can ink one at any point between today and when his contract expires in 2023. And if the Ravens slap him with the franchise tag, that will give them until July 15, 2023 to agree upon a long-term extension before the 2023 season.
It would behoove the Ravens to get a deal done with Jackson as soon as possible, given the ever-rising nature of the quarterback market. However, Jackson is currently focused on the season, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports, so getting one done in-season could prove difficult, as Jackson does not have an agent.
That said, Schefter did have an interesting tidbit in his story about Jackson’s contract extension.
A deal between Jackson and the Ravens could be completed during the season, but that likely will be when the former MVP has the time to focus on the negotiations, according to sources.
So, when would Jackson have time to focus on the negotiations? It would probably be during the team’s bye week, which occurs in Week 8. That would mean late October is the time to watch for a potential Jackson extension.
The other time to negotiate a deal in-season would come after the Ravens’ Week 10 “Thursday Night Football” matchup against the Dolphins. The Ravens would have the so-called “mini-bye”, during which Jackson could finalize terms on his extension. That would be in mid-November.
That said, if Jackson chooses solely to focus on the season, an extension won’t be signed until the offseason. In short, there are plenty of different times at which this deal could occur.
How much will Lamar Jackson’s new contract be worth?
Jackson will almost certainly be compensated at the rate of a top-five NFL quarterback.
Below is a look at the top passers in terms of average annual value.
|Rank||Player||Average annual value|
|1||Patrick Mahomes||$45 million|
|2||Josh Allen||$43 million|
|3||Dak Prescott||$40 million|
|4||Deshaun Watson||$39 milllion|
|5||Russell Wilson||$35 million|
|T-6||Aaron Rodgers||$33.5 million|
|T-6||Jared Goff||$33.5 million|
|8||Kirk Cousins||$33 million|
|9||Carson Wentz||$32 million|
|10||Matt Ryan||$30 million|
Jackson will probably slot into the $40 million per year range. It’s just a matter of whether he’ll rank above or below Josh Allen in terms of yearly compensation.
Jackson’s contract figures to be similar to Allen’s either way. The duo of star AFC quarterbacks were both drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft, which featured five first-round quarterbacks, and have racked up similar achievements so far during their careers.
|Player||Completion %||Passing yards||Rushing yards||Total TDs||MVPs||Playoff record|
Allen was the first quarterback in his draft class to agree to an extension. His is worth $258 million over six years, and it made him the second-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL at $43 million a year.
Average annual value isn’t all that matters when negotiating contracts, however. Allen broke the NFL record for total guaranteed money in his contract. His mark of $150 million is $8.5 million ahead of Patrick Mahomes’ deal, which contains $141.5 million in guarantees. And Mahomes has, by far, the league’s most lucrative contract worth a total of $450 million over 10 years.
So, the structure of Jackson’s deal will be something to watch, but Allen’s deal figures to be the blueprint that Baltimore will follow.