Examining Lamar’s magnitude in Ravens locker room

Mike Florio and Peter King break examine Lamar Jackson’s decision to represent himself and discuss how getting the deal done with the Ravens now allows him to bond with Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr.

Video Transcript

- Here's Lamar from yesterday talking on the reality that he represented himself through this process, and finally got a record-setting deal.

LAMAR JACKSON: I mean, it's a business. It's a business at the end of the day, and if you're going to represent yourself, you've got to have a strong mind. I wouldn't say you get out there and put your feelings in it because it's not about feelings. You know, you can't take things with a, oh yeah, I don't like what you said. I don't agree with this. It's like what they feel is how you feel. It's a grown man thing at the end of the day, so you got to be a grown man if you're going to handle business. I don't really-- I didn't really do this to prove anyone wrong or really care about what anyone had to say. If anything, I had to prove myself right like I know what I'm doing, and I feel I did the right thing.

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- Do you plan to continue to represent yourself, even going forward in your career?

LAMAR JACKSON: I do. I do. I wouldn't put my trust in anyone else, but myself.

- I know that last question had to be asked, but why would he change course now after he won?

- Yeah. Yeah.

- It took a while. And, Peter, I recounted all the steps yesterday. He would have been drafted higher than 32 if he had an agent, I firmly believe, in 2018. He would have signed a contract after three years, like Josh Allen did. Josh Allen has made $41 million more than Lamar Jackson has over the last two years that's never coming back.


He would have been potentially the face of the Nike Jordan brand as NFL athletes go instead of Dak Prescott. I firmly believe that if he had traditional representation over the course of the last five years. He'd have more of the dollars you were talking about earlier with Patrick Mahomes in Kankakee, and I'm told we'll have a map of Kankakee coming up later in the program if he had marketing representatives that were being as aggressive as they could with the guy who had become the face of the-- and there's Kankakee right on cue. Control room, gold star.

So there's a lot of meat that had been left on the bone. Let's not get it twisted because everybody's going to say he won, and anybody who said players shouldn't represent themselves is wrong, and they should shut up forever. He won today, but at a hell of a cost to get here and a hell of a risk that he was never going to get that payoff that he ultimately got.

So yeah, I would keep representing myself if I were him, especially because this contract has a no tag clause on the back end. So after five years, he hits the market. That was something that he got that isn't in a lot of these deals. Jalen Hurts doesn't have it. Patrick Mahomes doesn't have it. Now, sometimes the circumstances are set up like Dak Prescott where he can't be tagged as a practical matter, but Lamar got that.

So if he finishes this five years, makes his $260 million, he hits the open market unrestricted, no franchise tag, no transition tag, no anything, and he can go work his next deal as a true free agent if he continues to play five years from now. Five years is a long time as NFL careers go, but he'll have that freedom to do it, Peter.


- And I think that is one of the great things that Lamar Jackson got out of this because what's he going to be, 30 years old at the time? 31 maybe. He's still going to be theoretically in his prime, assuming that he doesn't continue to get hurt, and we'll see. There's no-- Bill Parcells used to say-- I've said it on this show I think every Friday-- they don't sell insurance for that stuff.

But I think the one interesting thing about this contract, Mike, is that the Baltimore Ravens gave Lamar Jackson really what he wanted in this deal. And look, I'm sure he would have wanted $260 million guaranteed, but I think what he really wanted in this deal is to be shown that we value you more than any quarterback in football, and I'm not sure that if the Ravens-- if he gave them a lie detector test that they'd say, OK, open draft of all the quarterbacks in football, who do you take?

But Lamar Jackson has seen that the Baltimore Ravens have treated him financially better than any quarterback in football, and I think that amount of respect was really important to him because, Mike, there's one other thing that I think is interesting. As somebody who's been in that locker room a few times after games, and I'm going back to 2019, his MVP year, I am telling you that even as a very young man with some very veteran players in that room, it is a constellation that revolves around Lamar Jackson.

You can just tell everybody's looking over to Lamar's locker. Everybody's like pointing over to Lamar. Mark Ingram one time in that locker room when he was on the Ravens, I'm talking to him, and three or four times he would, when he was talking, he would say there's our guy. This is our guy. Mark Ingram, one of the most respected veterans in the NFL.


And so, all I'm saying is that there was a big reason, and the Ravens knew the reason. They know how Lamar Jackson is regarded inside that locker room. That is their guy, so he better come back. And now that it's over-- and, honestly, I think the interesting thing is it's over two and a half months before the start of training camp.

So Lamar Jackson can take Zay Flowers, he can take Odell Beckham Jr., he can take Isaiah Likely and Mark Andrews, he can take all of those guys, all of them, and he can work with them in the offseason to make sure that-- look, I don't know if he's ever thrown a football to Odell Beckham Jr. before, but he can work on it.

This is what Aaron Rodgers didn't do last year in Green Bay, but now he's going to have time to work on it, and to hone his craft, and to get to know these newer receivers a lot better. So that is just an added bonus because if this thing had gotten done on August 10, I mean, that's a problem. That's a big problem in terms of chemistry. Getting it done now gives him two months before training camp, more than that, to do whatever he wants to do to get ready to get to know these receivers.

- And Peter, as you were explaining that magnetism, the charisma, the leadership, just that natural attraction where he becomes the center of the universe in the locker room takes me back to the speculation in which we all were engaged before the free agency period began, and everyone knew there was an opportunity to go get Lamar Jackson, to take him away from the Ravens with an offer that the Ravens couldn't or wouldn't match, and no one really tried all that hard. That topic came up yesterday with Lamar Jackson on whether and to what extent he heard from other teams. Let's have a listen to what he had to say in response to that question.


LAMAR JACKSON: To be honest with you, I really didn't care for other teams, really. I just really wanted to get something done here. Like, I wanted to be here. It was like, man, OK, other teams, cool, but I want to be a Raven. Like, I said something 2018. I think it was April 26, if I'm not mistaken, and I meant that. I'm standing on that until I get it done, so I really wanted to get this done before anything, before I even want to-- before my time up and branch off somewhere else, you know? I really want to finish my career here and win a Super Bowl here.

- And that's great now, but the fact remains he went public with his trade request late March just before John Harbaugh began to speak to reporters at the league meetings in Arizona. It was out there that he had asked to go. So negotiating tactics? Was it genuine at all? Who knows. There was that brouhaha that came up middle of March, late March about the non-certified agent who was contacting teams allegedly or actually.

The NFL put out the notice to all teams to don't talk to the individual, who supposedly was contacting teams to try to generate some interest. And maybe at the end of the day, it was all about putting more pressure on the Ravens, and he really didn't want to go play for another team, and there was never any serious interest. My understanding is there was no interest. He claims that there was, but it doesn't matter. No one ever acted on it, whether it was because the belief was he wanted a fully guaranteed contract or he wanted massive guarantees, even if the contract wasn't fully and completely guaranteed.

And then the other wrinkle that I talked DeCosta about the other day. The Ravens could have matched. They had $32.4 million that was already parked in cap space under the franchise tag for Lamar Jackson. They were in a position to match whatever someone else did, up to and including a five-year fully guaranteed contract. We talked at some point, Peter, and I was fascinated by the possibility of the Washington Commanders making a run at Lamar Jackson, and Daniel Snyder defying the NFL convention--


- They should have.

- --with one giant middle finger to the NFL on his way out the door. I think Steve Bisciotti, the owner of the Ravens, may have matched if Daniel Snyder had tried to do that. But regardless, I think there was that, and that didn't get discussed enough, the idea that the Ravens could and probably would match. Why do I want to do Baltimore's negotiation for it? What do I get for that as another team? I've wasted my time if I think the Ravens are just going to match whatever offer sheet I sign Lamar Jackson to.

- I agree, but I still don't quite understand why Washington didn't do that. And honestly, Daniel Snyder-- and again, Mike, we might disagree on this, but if Daniel Snyder ends up selling his franchise for $6.05 billion, I mean, this is going to sound crazy, but I would bet that if he employed Lamar Jackson, he could easily say to the Josh Harris group, OK, $6.2 billion now or this deal doesn't get done.

Daniel Snyder would have made himself money, either with the Harris group or somewhere else, I think, if Lamar Jackson were the quarterback of the team. And think about it for a second. If it were instead of $6.05 billion, if he just said $6.08 billion, that would have encompassed the entire Lamar Jackson contract, plus a $40,000 profit for Daniel Snyder getting it done. And look, we don't know how that whole thing would have gone. I get it. But I just don't-- I never understood why Washington did not at least pound the pavement a little bit on this one.


- And I think one of the reasons teams stayed away from it was the reality that if you already have a bird in the hand at the quarterback position and you make a public run at Lamar Jackson and you don't get him, what does that say to your fan base about whoever your quarterback currently is? Because this process was not going to be secret.

- You know what it says in this case? I'll tell you what it says in this case, and I'm sorry to interrupt you. Sam Howell does not deserve the kind of faith that anybody would say, whoa, they're not showing faith in Sam Howell. Who cares? What has Sam Howell done in his life?

Sam Howell has been a fairly high draft choice of the Washington Commanders, and that's it. That's all he's done. He's fortunate to be the nominal starter of an NFL team right now. And if the ownership, if Martin Mayhew and Ron Rivera are going after Lamar Jackson and it destroys Sam Howell, get out of here. You know? Get him out of here.

What kind of toughness would Sam Howell have showed if the guy who was the MVP in the NFL three years ago, if you got a chance to get him and you don't go-- and you go after him and miss him, and Sam Howell is going, oh man, you didn't show faith in me. Get out of here. Just get out. Anyway, my thought.