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Dak Prescott reportedly getting $145 million? What will Lamar Jackson's next contract look like?

Dak Prescott reportedly getting $145 million? What will Lamar Jackson's next contract look like?

Lamar Jackson has 16 regular season games, and however many playoff games the Ravens play in the 2020 season before the clock officially starts ticking on his contract extension. 

No, it’s not too soon to start thinking about what that could look like. 

The seemingly inevitable fifth-year option on Jackson’s future contract will be a bit different than previous fifth-year contracts.

“A first-round pick named to the Pro Bowl on the original ballot in one of his first three regular seasons will receive a fifth-year option equal to the transition tag at his position for the league year of the player's fourth year of his rookie deal,” according to nfl.com. “Those selected to two or more Pro Bowls in their first three seasons will receive a fifth-year option equal to the franchise tag applicable to his position in the player's fourth season.”

As it stands now, he’s set to make the equivalent to the transition tag at the position. Should he make another Pro Bowl in 2021, he’ll make the equivalent of the franchise tag. 

The franchise tag for quarterbacks in the 2020 season was worth $26,824,000 while the transition tag was worth $24,837,000. 

While it might seem far off in the distance, the days of a team-friendly deal for Jackson are going to come to an end rather quickly. He’s set to make just 1.3 percent, and then 1.4 percent, of the team’s salary cap in the next two seasons before the expected explosion. 

And a look at past quarterback contracts could provide some useful tips. 

Jared Goff, who signed a four-year deal worth $110 million total guaranteed will make 16.1, 14.3, 13.3 and 11 percent of the cap in the four years of his extension. 

Carson Wentz, another 2016 draft choice, will make 16.1, 13.6, 14.2 and then 12.5 percent of the cap for his extension, a deal worth $107,870,683 total guaranteed. With Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson and, most importantly, Patrick Mahomes’ extensions still to come, Jackson’s contract numbers still are a guessing game. 

But with the league’s cap in total flux due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a thought that the salary cap — which once was expected to exponentially rise — could dip significantly in 2021. 

While there’s little debate if Jackson performs as he did in 2019, or even in the same stratosphere, he’ll have a nice payday headed his way after his fourth season in the league. 

That shouldn’t dissuade the Ravens from handing him a blank check. 

Jackson’s status as one of the league’s top earners shouldn’t concern the Ravens or their fans. Good quarterbacks win Super Bowls, not cheap quarterbacks. If Jackson’s play doesn’t fall off a cliff, there shouldn’t be any worry about giving him the keys to the Ravens’ kingdom.

With a cap percentage number that could exceed 15 percent annually, Jackson won’t come cheap. But it will be worth it for the Ravens.

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Ravens training camp preview: How effective of a season can Matthew Judon have?

Ravens training camp preview: How effective of a season can Matthew Judon have?

Rostered outside linebackers: Matthew Judon, Jaylon Ferguson, Tyus Bowser, Aaron Adoeye, Chauncey Rivers, Marcus Willoughby, John Daka.

If there was one position of “need” the Ravens didn’t address this offseason, it was outside linebacker.

The Ravens instead added to their interior defensive line and inside linebacking corps, but didn’t add a notable free agent or draft pick at outside linebacker. Instead, they’re set to run back the group from a year ago. 

The team ranked 21st in the NFL a year ago in sacks with 37, but second in quarterback knockdowns. Essentially, the team dialed up pressure more than anyone else in the league but didn’t get home enough. Now, they're hopeful they've fixed that problem.

And if there is a trickle-down benefit to the outside linebackers of those additions elsewhere, it’s that the Ravens’ outside linebackers should have more one-on-one matchups on the outside. Notably, that includes Matthew Judon. 

He finished the year with 9.5 sacks a season ago and had 33 quarterback hits — more than three times the second-place finisher on the roster. And now, he’ll play on the franchise tag in his fifth season in the league. As the team’s top pass-rusher, he’s got a lot of pressure on his back entering the 2020 season. 

RELATED: HOW MUCH WILL THE ROOKIE LB's MAKE AN IMPACT ON THE DEFENSE?

If Judon is able to become an upper-tier pass-rusher this season, he’ll not only boost the Ravens’ defense, he’ll cement his monster contract that appears on the horizon, whether that comes from the Ravens or another team. 

But while Judon is the headliner of the Ravens’ edge rushers, in terms of success of the team this season, he might not be the most important part of the front seven. It might end up being whoever lines up across from him. 

Judon has shown the ability to be a No. 1 pass-rusher in the NFL, and with the benefit of an improved defense around him, it’s reasonable to assume he can repeat his 9.5 sack performance — or better it — in 2020. That shouldn't be the worry.

Where the true test will come, however, is who lines up as the second outside linebacker on the depth chart. 

Pernell McPhee had three sacks last season, but missed a majority of the season with a torn triceps. The team used rookie Jaylon Ferguson, who had 2.5 sacks, and Tyus Bowser, who had five sacks, in his absence.

With Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams and Derek Wolfe on the defensive line, it’s reasonable to assume that the Ravens’ outside linebackers will get more favorable matchups. 

And if Judon and the host of other outside linebackers are able to get more one-on-one matchups, the Ravens’ could wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks in 2020. 

So while the Ravens didn’t address their outside linebacker position this offseason, the additions elsewhere on the roster should provide the benefit that position group needed.

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Report: NFL to cut preseason in half, taking away Ravens first and fourth preseason games against the Bills and Redskins

Report: NFL to cut preseason in half, taking away Ravens first and fourth preseason games against the Bills and Redskins

According to a report from ProFootballTalk, the NFL has scrapped its first and fourth preseason games this season and cut the preseason in half. 

The Ravens were scheduled to play the Bills at home on Aug. 14 to open the season, then end the preseason on Sept. 3 against the Redskins. 

RELATED: TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: INSIDE LINEBACKER

Now, the Ravens’ tentative preseason schedule will have one road game, at the Cowboys on Aug. 22, and home against the Panthers on Aug. 30. 

According to the report, the move was spurred on by two factors: Firstly, that road teams would have trouble moving that many bodies and risk spreading COVID-19. Secondly, that no team has had on-field workouts this summer. Now, with training camps scheduled to start on July 28, teams will have more time to prepare for the season. 

The move came with coronavirus cases continually rising in the United States a day after Dr. Anthony Fauci said new cases could reach 100,000 per day if more preventative measures were not taken. On June 30, the U.S. had 46,042 new cases, the second-highest total since the pandemic began.

Baltimore is still set to report to camp at the end of the month, as is the rest of the NFL. With the new preseason schedule, they’ll have about three weeks to prepare for the first on-field game action of the season. 

The Ravens haven’t lost in the preseason since Sept. 3, 2015, when they lost 20-19 to the Falcons. 

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