Two weeks after OBJ signing, there’s no word on Lamar Jackson contract progress
When the Ravens provided the NFL with an Easter Sunday surprise via the signing of receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. to a one-year contract with a base value of $15 million, the overpayment of a player whose market wasn’t in that range seemed to arise in part from its potential impact on attracting quarterback Lamar Jackson to accept a contract to stay with the team.
Two weeks later, there’s no indication whatsoever that Jackson is any closer to agreeing to terms than he was before OBJ became a Raven.
The good news, if there is any for the Ravens, is that Jackson’s trade request from early March doesn’t seem to indicate that he’s forever done with the team that made him the final pick in round one five years ago this week.
Still, at some point, someone has to offer Jackson a contract to which he’ll say yes. Whether it’s the Ravens or someone else, someone has to cobble together a package of terms that makes Jackson say, “I’ll take it.”
One question is whether the Ravens will put on the table the offer that was there in August. One fact that emerged last week was the all-important rest-of-the-story on the full guarantee at signing that Baltimore offered Jackson before the 2022 season began. Over and over (and over), we’d been told that the Ravens had offered Jackson $133 million fully guaranteed at signing.
Now we know that, after one season, another $35 million would have flipped from injury guaranteed to fully guaranteed. Since the Ravens weren’t going to cut him after one season, the practical full guarantee at signing was $168 million. And Jackson declined.
He shouldn’t have. He should have said yes. So what will it take to get him to say yes now?
That’s the issue that continues to hover over the NFL, as the Ravens prepare to officially welcome back on Monday Tyler Huntley for 2023 at a mere $2.627 million -- and as the Ravens potentially add another quarterback in the draft.
Through it all, Jackson can have $32.4 million for 2023, under the franchise tag. He and the Ravens have until July 17 to negotiate a long-term deal. After that, the two sides are restricted to doing a one-year contract, for a higher value than $32.4 million.
Regardless of whether the contract covers one season or six seasons or somewhere in between, at some point Jackson needs to say yes to someone, or he won’t be playing for football for anyone in 2023. In an increasingly complication world, that’s as simple as it gets.