Lamar Jackson has officially given the Baltimore Ravens a deadline to finalize his extension, telling reporters Wednesday that both sides are still engaged in discussions but he plans to cease negotiations Friday.
"As of right now, you know, we're still talking," Jackson said. "The week's not over yet, but soon, soon will be probably be a deadline, probably be cut off after this week."
If the two sides are unable to reach an agreement, Jackson will play the 2022 season on his fifth-year option that is worth $23 million and become a free agent next offseason. If the 2019 NFL MVP hits the open market, it will undoubtedly create one of the most exciting bidding wars in recent history.
Jackson, who represents himself in contract discussions, has long maintained that he will discontinue talks at the start of the regular season. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported earlier on Wednesday that there isn't much progress on a potential deal.
"My understanding of the situation right now is there is nothing imminent on a new contract," Rapoport said. He went on to add that the extension Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson signed last week might affect negotiations between Jackson and the Ravens.
Wilson received $165 million guaranteed, short of the $230 million guaranteed in Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson's contract. Rapoport noted that Wilson's deal "makes it a little harder" for Jackson to push for guaranteed money, and Baltimore could be "more reluctant to give it to him."
Despite the uncertainty surrounding his contract, Jackson isn't letting it affect his play. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said earlier this week that the 25-year-old has been "focused and locked in on that, 100 percent, from a football standpoint."
Baltimore opens the 2022 season on Sunday against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.