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Lamar Jackson Says Rejected Ravens Contract Offer Included $160M-$180M Guaranteed

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 11, 2022

AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File

Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson provided more insight into his ongoing contract negotiations with the team, and he might have turned down even more guaranteed money than what was initially reported.

Jackson told ESPN's Dianna Russini that Baltimore was willing to put around $160-180 million guaranteed on the table.

Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the 2019 MVP declined a five-year, $250 million-plus extension that included $133 million in guarantees.

The 25-year-old is playing a high-stakes game if he wants to match or exceed the five-year, $230 million deal Deshaun Watson got from the Cleveland Browns.

In theory, Jackson should surpass Watson.

Entering this season, the two-time Pro Bowler threw for 9,967 yards and 84 touchdowns and ran for another 3,673 yards and 21 scores in 58 games. Jackson has a stronger body of work on the field, and off the field, Watson's massive payday came as the league was still investigating him for allegations of sexual misconduct.

But the value of Jackson and any other athlete is ultimately whatever the market will bear.

One problem with using Watson's contract as a benchmark is that a unique set of circumstances led to the record-breaking agreement. You had a quarterback in the prime of his career and a perennially dysfunctional franchise badly in need of a long-term solution under center.

If the team wants to be pragmatic, then Baltimore doesn't really need to be as aggressive as the Browns were when they pursued Watson.

Jackson is signed through this season. Beyond this year, Mortensen and Schefter reported the Ravens "are expected to apply their franchise tag on Jackson and prevent him from hitting free agency if the sides still are unable to reach a deal."

Should he dig his heels in, Jackson may not be hitting the open market until 2024 at the earliest. The quarterback market should continue to climb by then, but a QB who leans on his mobility as much as Jackson assumes more and more risk the longer he turns down the sure thing.

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