Lamar Jackson Rumors: Ravens Have Not Started Contract Extension Talks with QB

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2021

FILE - Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) leaves the field after the first half of an NFL divisional round football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N,Y., in this Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, file photo. Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta has already started making some of the tough decisions he believes can help Baltimore negotiate the leap from playoff qualifier to Super Bowl champion. After releasing running back Mark Ingram and quarterback Robert Griffin III last week, DeCosta announced Monday, Jan. 25, 2020, that the Ravens won't re-sign All-Pro long snapper Morgan Cox, the initial component of the highly successful placekicking trio that includes holder Sam Koch and second-team All-Pro Justin Tucker, the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history.(AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)
Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

It seems reports of the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson not being close in contact talks were premature given the two sides have reportedly not discussed a long-term extension. 

"I've actually heard they haven't started yet. ... I don't believe they've actually started yet," NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said on the Pat McAfee Show

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe cited two sources that said the opposite earlier this week, reporting the Ravens and Jackson had discussions that had not been productive.

Jackson has two more years remaining on his rookie contract. He'll make $1.8 million in 2021 and then have a significant raise as part of the fifth-year option in his deal if he and the Ravens are unable to reach a long-term extension.

"[He] certainly deserves a contract," Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta told reporters. "He has played phenomenal football over the last couple of years. My intention is to keep him in Baltimore for many, many years."

It's likely Jackson's next contract will make him one of the highest-paid players in NFL history. While it's unlikely there will be another $500 million deal similar to the one signed by Patrick Mahomes, it wouldn't be a surprise if Jackson's reps look to top the four-year, $156 million extension signed by Deshaun Watson last offseason.

Jackson threw for 2,757 yards and 26 touchdowns against nine interceptions in 2020, adding 1,005 yards and seven scores on the ground. While his numbers dropped from his 2019 MVP campaign, Jackson remains one of the NFL's most dynamic all-around playmakers.

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The Ravens may have to consider Jackson's unique skill set and how well it may age in any contract negotiation. He's the only quarterback in NFL history with back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons, but the 24-year-old has taken plenty of hits that come along with that distinction.

Jackson is a far better quarterback than advertised coming out of Louisville, but the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner still struggles with downfield throws and may not have the same long-term durability as other quarterbacks.