Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is up for big-time extension after the 2022 season. After an extremely strong start to his NFL career, he’s going to earn a lot of money with his next contract, and he’ll deserve every penny of it.
While there isn’t a lot known about the specifics of a potential extension for Jackson, some anticipate it could happen sooner rather than later. Others thought that the former University of Louisville star was going to be the first quarterback in the 2018 draft class to sign their big-money deal. However, that honor now belongs to Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
Allen and Buffalo reportedly agreed to a massive six-year, $258 million extension with $150 million guaranteed. The guaranteed money that Allen received is the most in NFL history, according to ESPN Stats & Info. The average annual value of Allen’s new deal comes in at $43 million, which ranks second in the league behind only Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his $45 million AAV.
In signing this deal, Allen effectively set the market for Jackson and also Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was also selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. While Mayfield is expected to get less money than both Allen and Jackson, the timing of the deal is somewhat significant.
There are many pros and cons for setting the market at any position. One of the biggest pros is not letting anyone else dictate the market, which allows a player and a team to work on a deal without the outside influence of another person’s deal impacting negotiations in any way. However, a con can be not letting a market be established at all. Sometimes a team can “overpay”, or a player could take less money than they would have gotten if another player at their position got a more lucrative deal than anticipated.
For Allen and the Bills, they agreed to a deal that worked for them. They’ve set the market, and while Baltimore and Jackson can certainly reset that market if they so choose, the boundaries are now there to work with. Jackson has always been expected to get a similar AAV to Allen, but the argument has been made that Jackson deserves a bit more based off of his consistent string of mostly high-level play, whereas Allen had a phenomenal year in 2020, but struggled a bit over his first two seasons in the NFL.
With Allen’s AAV coming in at $43 million, it isn’t unreasonable to project that Jackson could end up getting somewhere in the $45 million per year range. Jackson has been thought to be looking at a contract anywhere in the $40 million per year to $45 million per year range, but with Allen’s extension being announced, that could move the needle towards the latter.
A few things that could look different between the deals of Allen and Jackson is the amount of years and guaranteed money. Allen signed for six-years, but many have projected Jackson to get a four-year or five-year extension. With guarantees, Allen’s new deal has roughly 58.1% of the total money guaranteed. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Jackson get a much higher percentage of his total contract guaranteed. With those two factors taken into account, it’s possible that Jackson takes a shorter-term contract for a higher percentage of total guarantees.
All in all, Jackson and the Ravens should each know what they want out of a long-term partnership. Allen’s deal coming before Baltimore and their quarterback were able to agree on a deal could bring up some more talking points between the two parties, but shouldn’t completely derail a deal getting done.
Jackson has expressed his desire to stay with the Ravens, and Baltimore has let it be known that they want the fourth-year quarterback in their plans for the long run. No matter who was going to set the market, a deal has seemed extremely likely between both teams and their quarterbacks. While a few more things could be discussed and worked through, what happens between Jackson and the Ravens is probably not dramatically influenced just because Allen agreed to terms on an extension first.
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