Lamar Jackson, Ravens end contract talks heading into season

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens end contract talks heading into season originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Lamar Jackson’s future – along with the future of the Baltimore Ravens franchise – is suddenly a lot less clear.

While Jackson will be under center for the Ravens in the 2022 NFL season, the two sides failed to reach a long-term contract extension prior to Week 1. Jackson had set Friday as a deadline to come to an extension.

“Despite best efforts on both sides, we were unable to reach a contract extension with Lamar Jackson,” Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said in a statement on Friday.

“We greatly appreciate how he has handled this process and we are excited about our team with Lamar leading the way. We will continue to work towards a long-term contract after the season, but for now we are looking forward to a successful 2022 campaign.”

Baltimore drafted Jackson with the 32nd pick in the 2018 draft, and the QB became the team’s starter midway through his rookie year. He went on to win league MVP in his second season, throwing for 36 touchdowns through the air and adding seven on the ground. He led the Ravens to three playoff appearances before the team missed out in an injury-filled 2021 season.

The Ravens exercised Jackson’s fifth-year contract option in April 2021, locking him in for the 2022 season at just over $23 million. After failing to reach an extension, Jackson is in line to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason. The team still has the ability to use the franchise tag on him next season, which would be worth an estimated $31.5 million for 2023.

Several star quarterbacks signed lucrative long-term deals this summer, including Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson. Josh Allen, a fellow member of the 2018 draft class, signed a six-year deal worth over $250 million with the Buffalo Bills last summer.

Jackson, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow are next in line for massive QB deals, though Herbert and Burrow each have an additional year on their rookie deals, and that’s not even including potential fifth-year options. By holding off talks until after the season, speculation will grow when it comes to who Jackson will sign that deal with and when.