Lamar Jackson's $23M 5th-Year Contract Option Exercised by Ravens

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL divisional round football game against the Buffalo Bills Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Munson)
John Munson/Associated Press

The Baltimore Ravens have picked up quarterback Lamar Jackson's fifth-year option worth a reported $23 million, the team announced Friday.

General manager Eric DeCosta said this week that conversations about a long-term extension are "ongoing":

"That's definitely a fluid thing. Lamar and I have had a discussion about that. It's important to us, and it's important to him. Lamar is obviously a very patient guy. He wants to be the best he can be. He wants this team to be the best it can be, and he wants to win very badly. So, we're aligned that way. I'm confident that we'll continue to discuss this, and I think at some point, hopefully, we'll have some good news for everybody."                    

An extension for Jackson is a matter of "when" more than "if." The 24-year-old was the 2019 NFL MVP, has led the Ravens to the postseason in three straight years and has rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons.

He has also answered the questions about him as a passer coming out of college, throwing for 7,085 yards, 68 touchdowns and 18 interceptions while completing 64 percent of his passes.

He's not an elite passer like Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers, though he's never had great weapons in the passing game. But he's good enough in the pocket and a threat as a runner, compensating for some of his weaknesses through the air.

Furthermore, Baltimore is 30-7 with him as the starting quarterback. While wins aren't necessarily a quarterback statistic, it's hard to dispute that Baltimore has been a different and better team since he took over as the starter in 2018.

The next test is whether he can lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl title. He's just 1-3 in the postseason. But again, he's 24 and hasn't hit his prime, yet he's already emerged as one of the most dangerous players in the NFL.

The long-term extension will get done, and it will be massive—maybe not Mahomes massive, but in the next tier.