At the start of the 2022-2023 NFL Season, the Baltimore Ravens and star quarterback Lamar Jackson did not reach a contract agreement. All discussions about the contract were closed. After this season Jackson now has a choice, negotiate a bigger and better contract, or enter free agency and sign with another team.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson has been a standout player since his college days. Standing at 6’2 and 212 lbs, Jackson was known for his quick feet and elusiveness as a quarterback. While in college, Jackson had many highlights of his flashy jukes and moves go viral on social media, but many people did not know it was Jackson.
That changed when the Baltimore Ravens drafted him as the last pick of the first round in the 2018 draft. This late pick was a surprise to some as Jackson was a former winner of the Heisman Trophy in college, solidifying him as a top QB. For others, it was not shocking as there were many doubts about Jackson’s performance in the NFL. Many thought he relied on his legs too much and that his passing skills were subpar.
Lamar Jackson proved his worth in his second season when he had a career-high of 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns, while also winning an MVP. Jackson followed up that season by being the first quarterback to have multiple 1,000 yards rushing seasons and led the Ravens to a third consecutive playoff appearance.
Now, three years after that amazing season, the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar could not reach an agreement on a contract. Jackson decided to take his $23 million player option. After the season, Jackson can decide whether to stay for another year or become an unrestricted free agent.
This news caused a spark over social media, with many being surprised that Baltimore would not offer more money to their star quarterback, who has been the highlight of their team. Jackson will reopen contract negotiations with the Ravens in January of 2023. This situation has already opened up a question to many people: is Lamar worth the money he’s asking for?
The contract offered to Jackson by the Ravens, which started this controversy at the beginning of the season, was for $250 million with $133 million guaranteed at signing. There were speculations that Lamar rejected this contract due to other quarterbacks, such as Deshaun Watson’s fully guaranteed, five-year, $230 million contract, having better conditions than him. Some believe the Ravens will offer less or more than that price based on Jackson’s 2022-2023 season this year.
One of these people was Hall of Fame legend safety Ed Reed, who was one of the greatest players in Baltimore Ravens history. Reed’s thoughts followed the lines of, “It’s a business first. It’s the NFL and it’s football to the players and we love that, but it’s a business first to the league.”
This suggests that Jackson put his health and safety first this season, to gain the full reaps of a new contract when free agency hits.
An opposing opinion is that Lamar has to play his hardest and show his worth for a new contract. They believe Jackson has to go out there and play to the best of his abilities to gain a contract that fulfills his conditions. With every Ravens game that has come and gone, there is always a phrase that goes trending “PAY HIM!” This is alluding to the fact that the Ravens have not yet reached an agreement with Lamar even though he is doing well this season. It is a reasonable trend, as the Baltimore quarterback has not let up on his ferocity this season. Coming into this season, Jackson set a new NFL record for the most 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback.
When interviewed about this matter, Blake Student Tyler Kroop said, “If Lamar can keep up this performance throughout the season, I see no reason why the Ravens should disagree on his next contract terms.”
Through the first five games of the 2022-23 NFL season, Lamar Jackson has 1,067 passing yards and is third place for touchdowns with 12. If Jackson can stay healthy and keep up this trend of stats, he will be looking at a contract that fulfills his conditions come free agency.