Baltimore Ravens mainstay quarterback, Lamar Jackson, is becoming an example of the future woes facing teams and owners alike in the NFL’s new contractual landscape.
Teams, owners, players, fans, and the media seem to be in a constant flux of confusion, prediction, and conjecture over the star quarterback’s plans for the 2023 season, and to be absolutely fair; there is only room for conjecture and wild speculation at this point.
Without an agent handling the headache of negotiations for Jackson, the apparent back and forth has seen the light of day through the always up-to-date (and sometimes volatile) medium that is Twitter.
On Tuesday, the 26-year-old QB took to Twitter to respond to a retweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, claiming Jackson turned down a $200 million fully guaranteed contract in September. His response? A gif of an internet personality delivering a look of absolute incredulity and a second tweet that alluded to the actual numbers being $133 million dollars guaranteed over a 3-year period.
To put into perspective this seeming tug of war, it’s important to understand the current landscape.
Last spring, former Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson signed a landmark deal with the Cleveland Browns: five years/$230 million dollars guaranteed. This expanded his cap hit to roughly $55 million dollars, the largest in NFL history.
Deshaun Watson only played six games of the 2022 NFL season, going 3-3 after a suspension related to a large legal battle during the off-season related to numerous allegations of sexual misconduct and assault.
With this historical deal unearthed, the effect has been equivalent to Roger Bannister’s four-minute mile: when the impossible becomes possible, challengers are bound to make their presence known.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott reached a cap hit of $49.1 million; Chiefs superstar QB Patrick Mahomes reached $46.8 million; and the Buffalo Bill’s great hope, Josh Allen, has reached $39.8 million.
With that being said, even the idea that QB Lamar Jackson is looking for a fully guaranteed deal is, rivaling his peers is just speculation.
The only thing that can be said for sure is that the Baltimore Ravens, and any potential suitors around the league, have until July 17th to hash out a path forward with the 26-year-old University of Louisville talent.