Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson may not be too enthused when details of his contract negotiations with the team spilt out into the open.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Sunday that Jackson declined a six-year extension worth up to $290 million with $133 million guaranteed. Mortensen also included a note that "union sources framed the Ravens' talks with Jackson as 'good faith'":
Chris Mortensen @mortreport
Union sources framed the Ravens' talks with Jackson as "good faith" although the team included $2.5 million in annual de-escalator clauses if Jackson did not attend a high % of off-season workouts.<br>FYI: Fully guaranteed money covers regardless of skill, injury and salary cap.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported how having a leak coming from the union side could upset Jackson.
"The report has the union’s fingerprints all over it, in part because Mortensen specifically identified in one of his tweets 'union sources,'" Florio wrote. "In other words, someone from the union was talking. Per a source with knowledge of Jackson’s mindset regarding the negotiations, he will be 'pissed' that something was said by someone with the NFL Players Association."
Jackson's position in contract negotiations is understandable.
When Deshaun Watson can collect $230 million fully guaranteed from the Cleveland Browns, getting nearly $100 million less than that won't cut it when you've earned two Pro Bowl nods and won the 2019 MVP.
Watson also signed his deal while dealing with the specter of the sexual misconduct allegations that resulted in an 11-game suspension.
From the perspective of the NFL Players Association, this is also an opportunity to continue normalizing massive multiyear contracts that are fully guaranteed.
"The union advised Jackson, 25, that based on his performance and age, he was justified to demand a fully guaranteed contract, sources said," Mortensen and ESPN colleague Adam Schefter reported.
Throughout this process, Jackson has been working without an official agent, and Florio reported Thursday isn't planning to hire one.
This situation is making plain the value of a good agent.
With the kind of money that's at stake, it's potentially unwise to forego having an experienced professional handle discussions with the Ravens.
In addition, an agent's job is to help shape the narrative in public and be the antagonist if necessary. Certain agents such as Drew Rosenhaus relish that role because they know it can deflect the spotlight from their client and make their clients life easier.
Right now, Jackson is on his own and left to deal with the fallout from whatever rumors surface regarding the ongoing negotiations.