There’s nothing currently happening between the Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson regarding his contract because: (1) he represents himself; and (2) he’s busy with, you know, football.
But Jackson wasn’t bashful when it came to reminding the team about his situation, displaying a “pay the man” sign that dropped out of the stands after last night’s 27-22 win in Tampa.
The problem isn’t a lack of willingness of the Ravens to pay Jackson. They’ve made him a significant offer. The problem is that Jackson wants a Deshaun Watson-style fully-guaranteed contract, and that the Ravens don’t want to give him one.
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith recently said in an appearance on #PFTPM that a collusion case could be filed in the near future regarding the refusal to give veteran players fully-guaranteed contracts. Jackson would be the central figure in a collusion case.
Regardless of whether any such claim is made, Jackson has two primary options for getting a fully-guaranteed contract. First, he can play out the balance of his rookie deal and then complete two seasons under the franchise tag before becoming an unrestricted free agent. That’s the Kirk Cousins approach. Second, Jackson can demand a trade and try to set up the same kind of competition for his rights that Watson created. One of the interested teams would potentially offer a fully-guaranteed deal, like the Browns did to Watson.
So Jackson either has to make it through another 44 regular-season games and hope he’s still talented and healthy enough to insist on a fully-guaranteed contract on the open market, or he can take a stand after the current season and hope the Ravens will agree to trade him to a team that will give him a fully-guaranteed contract.