Ed Reed tells Lamar Jackson: Ravens are a business first, if you get hurt they’ll pay you less
One of the greatest players in Ravens history is warning Lamar Jackson that he needs to take care of himself until the team has taken care of him contractually.
Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed told Kevin Clark of TheRinger.com that Jackson, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, should be focused primarily on keeping himself healthy until he has the long-term guaranteed contract he’s seeking.
“He’s just got to be smart,” Reed said. “I’m not telling him to play scared or anything because I don’t think he’s gonna do that, he hasn’t displayed that, but he has to be smart because it is a business and they will use that shit against you whether you like it or not. You can think these people love you. They’re showing their true colors right now. And it’s no shot at the Ravens because they are an organization that’s a business. It’s a business first. It’s the NFL and it’s football to the players and we love that, but it’s a business first to the league.”
Reed said that if Jackson puts his body on the line for the Ravens this season and gets injured, his reward will be a less lucrative contract offer when he hits free agency in March.
“Yeah, of course, they ain’t gonna pay you as much,” Reed said. “It’s a business, bro. I don’t know how else to tell you clearer than that.”
Reed said Jackson may need to change the way he plays to prioritize his own health heading into free agency, and Reed said he himself did that when he was in the midst of negotiating his second contract with the Ravens.
“Yes, I would change because I did change. When I went through situations with the Ravens, I was in the last year of my rookie contract and I knew I deserved more -- I still know,” Reed said. “I was underpaid. It’s a business, man. You’ve got to understand that. You have to be smart about what you’re doing.”
Jackson doesn’t have an agent, and it’s unclear whose advice he’s listening to on contractual matters. He may want to listen to Reed, a great player who’s been there before.