Will Lamar Jackson hire an agent now? Probably not
As recently explained, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson needs an agent now more than ever. So will he be hiring an agent?
The prevailing thought in league circles is that he won’t be.
For starters, although Jackson and his mother have talked to one or more agents from time to time, there’s never been a serious sense that Jackson plans to hire one of them. Some think the goal is to simply pick their brains for ideas. More importantly, there’s a belief that Jackson won’t hire an agent at this point due to the potential perception that he’d be admitting his mistake in not hiring one sooner.
And make no mistake about it -- it was a mistake.
Jackson was eligible for a new contract in 2021. He instead earned $1.77 million that year. Last year, under the fifth-year option, he made $23 million. That’s $24.77 million total over the last two years.
In that same span, Bills quarterback Josh Allen (drafted in the same year in the same round as Jackson) received $66.2 million, under the contract he signed in August 2021. That’s more than $41 million that is never coming back for Lamar.
For the past two years, the challenge of Jackson representing himself came from negotiating directly with the Ravens. Now, he can negotiate with any interested team as he tries to get someone to either sign him to an offer sheet or approach the Ravens about a potential trade. That’s a far more delicate and complex process.
At some point, Lamar Jackson has to do a deal, with someone. He hasn’t been able to do one with the Ravens, a team that routinely does deals with many other players. It’s hard to think he’ll get one done with another team, or with the Ravens by the July 17 deadline.
And what did he really gain in not hiring an agent? He didn’t have to pay a one- or two- or three-percent fee. Hooray. But isn’t it now clear that 99 or 98 or 97 percent of the pie a good agent would have gotten for Lamar is a hell of a lot better than 100 percent of the one he baked on his own?
Just look at Josh Allen. Even at the maximum allowed rate of three percent, he has received $64.214 million over the last two years. Jackson has received 100 percent of $24.77 million.
Yes, he needs to hire an agent. He won’t. And that’s ultimately his business. Among the various inalienable rights as American citizens is the right to make bad business decisions. He made one by not hiring an agent in 2018, prior to the draft. He made another one in 2021, when he became eligible for a second deal. And he’s likely to triple down now, for fear of looking like he made mistakes in the past.
But he did. And it’s OK to admit that. It also doesn’t make us anti-Lamar to believe it. As I’ve said before, anyone who truly wants to see Lamar fail would simply say at this point, “Keep it going. You’re doing great.”