The 2022 season is the final one on Lamar Jackson's contract, but it sounds as if there is plenty of motivation to come to terms on a new agreement.
"Both sides are motivated to get the job done," Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said of the situation, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.
For his part, the quarterback told reporters, "I think so. We'll have to see," when asked if he envisions a contract agreement taking place.
Jackson's status is one of the biggest storylines in the entire league as training camps get underway, especially since Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray may have set the market for quarterback deals this offseason.
Watson agreed to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns after they traded for him, and Murray agreed to a five-year, $230.5 million deal featuring $160 million in guarantees with the Arizona Cardinals.
Jackson would certainly have a case to make more than those deals considering he is just 25 years old with a league MVP and two Pro Bowl selections in three-plus years as a full-time starter. Baltimore is 37-12 in games he starts and has made the playoffs in three of the last four years.
The Louisville product is a threat to make plays with both his legs and his arm with two seasons of more than 1,000 rushing yards. He also led the league in passing touchdowns (36) in 2019 when he won the NFL MVP.
Yet the 2021 campaign was a disappointment as he dealt with an ankle injury and finished with just 16 passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games. Perhaps he sees the upcoming season as an opportunity to prove himself ahead of free agency.
ESPN's Jeff Darlington said on Get Up:
"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."
Baltimore would still have the option to use the franchise tag, but Harbaugh's comments suggest the team is looking to settle the situation before it reaches that point.