The Baltimore Ravens have been unable to agree on a contract extension with quarterback Lamar Jackson. The team announced this on Friday afternoon.
The 25-year-old MVP of 2019 will start his last year of contract in Baltimore on Sunday. The Ravens meet the New York Jets away for the season opener (19:00 CET).
“Despite our best efforts on both sides, we were unable to secure a contract extension with Lamar Jackson,” Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said in a statement. The team will again work towards a long-term contract after the season, “but for now we are looking forward to a successful 2022 season.”
According to media reports, the talks were said to have been difficult due to the high level of guarantees required from Jackson. The quarterback, who has no official advisor and takes informal advice from his mother, is said to have asked for a similar contract to Deshaun Watson, who has a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Browns.
The Ravens obviously didn’t want to give such guarantees. Team owner Steve Bisciotti had previously stated that Watson’s contract had significantly complicated future negotiations. Watson himself had indicated that the talks would be broken off by Friday at the latest in order to concentrate fully on the season.
Jackson will earn $23 million from it in the 2022 season. However, the broken talks don’t mean he will leave the Ravens in the upcoming offseason. Most likely, he will continue to be attached to the team via franchise tag, while at the same time new negotiations for a long-term contract start.
There are two possibilities: With the exclusive franchise tag, Watson would earn $45.4 million in 2023. A non-exclusive franchise tag would be significantly cheaper for the team, but Watson is likely to negotiate with other teams and sign an offer sheet. If the Ravens don’t call, Watson would switch to the new team for the price of two first-round picks.
Baltimore could also keep Watson in 2024 with another franchise tag, then he would make $54.4 million. Then he would be a free agent at the age of 28.