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Lamar Jackson 'Locked In' on Football amid Ravens Contract Talks, John Harbaugh Says

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 5, 2022

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens still haven't agreed to a long-term contract extension, and head coach John Harbaugh didn't have any news in that regard on Monday.

"Lamar has said he's focused on the season, he's under contract and he's going to have the best season he can have," he told reporters. "He's hopeful to get a new contract and we're hopeful to get him a new contract. All the rest of it is business. There is nothing other than coming to something that is mutually agreeable."

"I don't have any updates," Harbaugh added. "My interactions with Lamar have been all football. He's been focused and locked in on that, 100 percent, from a football standpoint."

At this point, Ravens fans are probably tired of the micro-updates to the ongoing contract saga, although the good news is that it doesn't appear the negotiations have been acrimonious.

"Being around him here and also being beside him in the locker room, he's calm, cool and collected," offensive tackle Morgan Moses told reporters about Jackson's approach to training camp amid the contract talks. "It's no better feeling than to see your quarterback comes out every day and is willing to work."

The question remains where Jackson's extension will put him amongst the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league. It's hard to imagine the Ravens matching the shocking five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract the Cleveland Browns gave to Deshaun Watson.

Likewise, Jackson is going to push for more guaranteed money than the five-year, $242.5 million ($165 million guaranteed) Russell Wilson signed with the Denver Broncos and the five-year, $230 million deal ($189.5 million guaranteed) Kyler Murray signed with the Arizona Cardinals this offseason.

In terms of overall value, Patrick Mahomes 10-year, $450 million contract tops the NFL, while Aaron Rodgers' current three-year deal has the highest average annual value ($50.2 million) in the league.

Given that Jackson is just 25 and already an MVP, a two-time Pro Bowler and a one-time first-team All-Pro selection, he'll make a strong argument to reset the quarterback market in either total value, guaranteed money or AAV. Whether the Ravens play ball remains to be seen.

Baltimore does have the luxury of using the franchise tag if Jackson hits free agency next offseason. They could do so ahead of the 2024 season as well. But that's hardly the ideal scenario for either Jackson (who will want more long-term security than a one-year deal) or the team (who won't want the decision to use the tag to sour the relationship with Jackson).

At the very least, Jackson's patient approach to the situation has probably raised his market value, as his peers sign mega extensions around him. But at some point, a resolution for both sides would be ideal.

Jackson already seemed to set a deadline for the start of the regular season, so unless talks progress quickly, don't be surprised if this situation isn't resolved until 2023.

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