Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has pivoted in recent weeks from apparently not wanting a long-term deal with the Ravens to apparently wanting one now.
The question arose on Saturday as to whether Jackson would like to get his second NFL contract before the start of training camp.
“Hopefully,” Jackson told Safid Deen of USA Today, during Jackson’s fourth annual Funday with LJ event.
Jackson enters the option year of his rookie deal, at a base salary of roughly $23 million for 2022. He didn’t commit to accepting a new contract before camp starts.
“I’m not going to say ‘yeah’ right now,” Jackson told Deen. “Hopefully. But it’s God’s timing.”
That said, it’s Lamar’s decision as to whether he’ll hold out if God and/or the Ravens don’t come through.
“I don’t have that on my mind,” Jackson said regarding a potential absence from training camp.
The Ravens tried for months to get Jackson’s attention. They apparently have it. But whether they can reach an agreement on a new contract remains to be seen.
Jackson won the league MVP award in 2019. Since then the market has increased significantly. The best current contract, all things considered, belongs to Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, at $46 million per year for five years, fully guaranteed. That should be the starting point for Jackson. The Ravens may not want to make it their ending point.
Complicating matters is the fact that Jackson represents himself. It makes it awkward for him to say what needs to be said. It makes it awkward for the Ravens to say what needs to be said.
What ultimately needs to be done is a new deal that is fair to both sides. Otherwise, the franchise-tag dance begins in early 2023.