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Lamar Jackson Rumors: QB 'Made Clear' He'll Play out Contract amid Extension Talks

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 8, 2022

Jason Miller/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is reportedly prepared to play out the final season of his contract in 2022.

According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano, people close to the situation are "skeptical" the two sides will come to terms on a new deal before Week 1, and Jackson "made clear" a few weeks ago that he will play out the remainder of his current contract.

On Wednesday, Jackson told reporters that Friday is the self-imposed deadline he has set for signing a new deal before breaking off negotiations and focusing on the 2022 season.

As reported multiple times and confirmed by Fowler and Graziano, Jackson is looking for a fully guaranteed contract, but the Ravens have been unwilling to go that far.

Jackson is perhaps using Deshaun Watson's contract with the Cleveland Browns as a baseline, as Watson signed a five-year, $230 million, fully guaranteed deal after getting traded to Cleveland from the Houston Texans.

Aaron Rodgers also signed a fully guaranteed, three-year, $150.815 million contract with the Green Bay Packers, although such deals had previously been almost unheard of in the NFL.

The most recent quarterback contract of note was the one Kyler Murray signed with the Arizona Cardinals in July.

Murray signed a five-year, $230.5 million deal, but only $189.5 million of it is guaranteed, which may be more in line with what the Ravens want to do with Jackson.

It stands to reason that the Ravens may have health concerns with Jackson because of his high-volume running style and the fact that he missed five games because of injury last season.

When Jackson is healthy, however, he is as electric and productive as any player in the NFL, regardless of position.

The No. 32 overall draft pick in 2018, Jackson led Baltimore to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons. He enjoyed a year for the ages in 2019, winning the NFL MVP award after throwing for 3,127 yards, 36 touchdowns and six interceptions, while also rushing for 1,206 yards and seven scores.

Still just 25 years old, Jackson likely has some remaining untapped potential, especially as a passer.

There is no better option available to Baltimore under center in the immediate future, so Jackson almost has to be the Ravens' guy moving forward, but they don't necessarily have to rush into an extension, either.

The Ravens have the option of placing the franchise tag on Jackson for the 2023 season, and the only way that may not be attractive to Baltimore is if Jackson decides to hold out.

Jackson is prepared to play this season out regardless, and he could stand to make himself a lot of money if he plays close to the level he displayed in 2019.

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