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Lamar Jackson Rumors: 'Very Real' Chance Ravens QB Plays Season Without New Contract

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 28, 2022

Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson is heading into the final year of his current contract and could play this season without an extension.

ESPN's Jeff Darlington provided the latest Thursday on Get Up (0:24 mark of the video):

"It is a very real possibility that Lamar Jackson could play this season without a new contract. The Ravens have an offer on the table, he could take it, and it's very possible that he will ... but based on my conversations, it's very practical in Lamar Jackson's mind that he goes in there and plays this year on a prove-it year, and comes back and tries to play the free-agency card."

Jackson is set to make $23 million in 2022 on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal.

The price tag for top quarterbacks continues to skyrocket, however, with eight signal-callers averaging at least $40 million per season, per Spotrac.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray recently signed a five-year extension worth $230.5 million.

Jackson is more accomplished, having won an MVP award and garnered an All-Pro nod. The Ravens are 37-12 in the regular season when he starts.

The 25-year-old is coming off a disappointing year in which he was limited by an ankle injury. He finished with just 16 passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games, a far drop from his 36-touchdown, six-interception effort in 2019.

Jackson also finished with only 767 rushing yards after topping 1,000 in each of the previous two years.

The struggles are likely to keep his value down in contract negotiations this offseason. If the quarterback avoids a deal and bounces back with a strong 2022 season—potentially including some playoff success—he could command a record-breaking contract next offseason.

Baltimore would still be able to use a franchise tag instead of letting Jackson leave in free agency, although it would be expensive.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, a non-exclusive tag would be about $34 million in 2023 and $45.4 million in 2024.

If Jackson and the Ravens cannot agree to a long-term deal before then, the quarterback would finally hit the open market in 2025.

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