Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has agreed to a massive 10-year mega-extension with the Kansas City Chiefs, a deal that ESPN's Adam Schefter has classified as the "richest in NFL history."
In Kansas City, fans rejoiced. The best quarterback in the NFL is under contract for their favorite team for the next 12 seasons.
But in Baltimore? Ravens fans likely immediately thought about Lamar Jackson and the potential deal he could command next offseason.
Jackson is entering his third NFL season and currently is in a similar position to where Mahomes was just a year prior. While they have different playing styles, the career arc through each of their first two seasons has plenty of similarities.
Both quarterbacks sat for the majority of their rookie seasons before becoming their respective team's starter the following year. In each of their first full seasons as the starting quarterback, Mahomes and Jackson led their respective squads to the No. 1 seed in the AFC while earning NFL MVP honors along the way. Both of them even graced the cover of Madden following their MVP seasons, too.
What Jackson does as a curtain call for his incredible 2019 campaign will certainly impact his future contract. Mahomes parlayed his MVP season in 2018 to a Super Bowl title and MVP last year, which confirmed Kansas City's belief in the need to invest in the QB long-term.
Baltimore is expected to be one of the NFL's best teams once again this fall, and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has publicly stated he expects Jackson to make a leap as a passer in 2020.
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As far as how much Jackson will make, it's unjust to put him in the same ballpark as Mahomes at this time -- the Chiefs passer has had arguably the best two years to begin his career as a starter than any quarterback in NFL history.
But, if the Ravens quarterback follows up his incredible 2019 season with an even better 2020, Jackson certainly could have an argument to command a deal similar to the Chiefs' QB just agreed to.
Entering the NFL, much of the knack on Jackson had to do with his arm. Well, the Ravens quarterback led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes a season ago, while also breaking the single-season rushing yards record by a quarterback. Sure, Jackson may not have the arm talent that Mahomes has, but there are also things the Ravens QB can do that the Chiefs passer simply cannot.
For Jackson, next offseason is likely the time the quarterback will sign an extension, similarly to how Mahomes did on Monday. In recent years, we've seen Jared Goff and Carson Wentz also sign lucrative extensions following their third professional season.
But as the salary cap continues to change, and now with Mahomes' record deal, the reality is that Jackson's future contract numbers are a guessing game.
Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson and Dallas Cowboys signal-caller Dak Prescott are both due for extensions, and each could happen before Jackson signs a new deal. Those future deals will likely only increase what Jackson, who has an already more impressive resume than both of them, can command.
What Jackson does as an encore to his MVP season will be crucial in contract negotiations next summer. If Jackson regresses slightly but still turns in a solid season, a deal like Goff's (four years, $110 million) or Wentz's (four-years, $107 million) could be two baselines to follow. Yet, if he improves upon his great 2019 year, Mahomes has set the bar for what the Ravens QB can ask for.
Regardless, Jackson's future deal in Baltimore won't be cheap. But, as the quarterback has proven thus far in his career, it will be worth it. Remember, good quarterbacks win Super Bowls, not cheap ones.
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