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Projecting Lamar Jackson Contract After Kyler Murray's $230.5M Cardinals Deal

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 21, 2022

Jason Miller/Getty Images

With Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray signing a massive contract extension Thursday, Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson should be the next quarterback to land a new deal.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Murray signed a five-year, $230.5 million contract with $160 million guaranteed, and he became the second-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL in terms of average annual salary at $46.1 million.

Per Spotrac, the average annual value of Murray's new deal is behind only Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' $50.2 million average salary, and ahead of the Cleveland Browns' Deshaun Watson ($46 million), the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes ($45 million) and the Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen ($43 million).

In terms of total money over the life of the contract, Murray trails only Mahomes' $450 million and Allen's $258.034 million.

Jackson is set to enter the final year of his contract in 2022, and while there have long been negotiations, the two sides still have yet to come to an agreement on a long-term extension.

Murray's extension can only be considered a good thing for Jackson since he has a better resume and is less than a year older than Murray at 25.

In four NFL seasons since the Ravens selected him No. 32 overall in the 2018 NFL draft, Jackson is 37-12 as a starter and has led Baltimore to the playoffs three times, winning one postseason game.

He has also completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 9,967 yards, 84 touchdowns and 31 interceptions, but most impressively, he has rushed for 3,673 yards and 21 scores.

Jackson is a two-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro who was named NFL MVP in 2019 when he led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes, threw just six picks and rushed for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns.

By comparison, the 24-year-old Murray is just 22-23-1 in three seasons as a starter since Arizona selected him first overall in the 2019 NFL draft.

Murray has also led the Cards to only one playoff appearance, and they were noncompetitive in an NFC Wild Card Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams last season.

The former Oklahoma star's numbers are impressive, though, as he has completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 11,480 yards, 70 touchdowns and 34 interceptions in his career to go along with 1,786 yards and 20 touchdowns through the air.

Murray is also a two-time Pro Bowler and was the 2019 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, but he doesn't have a first-team All-Pro selection or an MVP award, unlike Jackson.

Both Jackson and Murray missed some time because of injury last season and there are some injury concerns with them moving forward since they like to use their legs and are slight of frame compared to the prototypical quarterback.

That didn't stop the Cardinals from shelling out huge money for Murray, and it shouldn't stop the Ravens from following suit with Jackson.

It is difficult to envision Jackson surpassing the total value of the contracts given to Mahomes and Allen since they have both led their teams deeper in the playoffs than he has in the AFC, but Jackson does deserve a slightly larger deal than Murray.

As such, look for the Ravens to give Jackson somewhere in the neighborhood $240 million over five years with $170 million guaranteed, which would make him the second-highest-paid quarterback in terms of average annual value and the third-highest-paid quarterback in terms of overall contract value.

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