Coming into the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens didn’t seem to be in prime position to draft their quarterback of the future.
The top four signal callers of that draft class all figured to be selected way earlier than where Baltimore was slated to pick.
If the Ravens were going to take a quarterback, it was likely going to be a consolation prize at best.
As it turned out, the Ravens very well may have ended up with the best quarterback or player of that entire process.
After trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire the 32nd overall pick, the team nabbed quarterback Lamar Jackson out of Louisville.
Jackson has been nothing short of electric in his three-year NFL career, and there is a case to be made that he’s the most dynamic offense weapon we’ve seen in the league this century.
— ESPN Top 63 (@ESPNTop63) July 11, 2021
But at every point in a promising quarterback’s career, an organization must grapple with the decision to fork over a significant amount of money over several years.
This decision is magnified at the quarterback position because one(very important) player can account for 20% of a franchise’s financial flexibility.
As we draw closer to decision time for Baltimore, let’s project how much a new contract for Jackson would be worth.
Predicted Contract: 3 Years, $152 million, $120 million guaranteed
As fascinating as the negotiations between Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys were, the discussions around what Jackson’s true net worth should be moving forward might be even more intriguing.
The player and his agent will always look for the most money and the longest contract duration they can, while ownership will try to start conversations at a lower price point.
But valuing Jackson’s skill set monetarily will be among the most difficult exercise to pinpoint in sports.
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) July 9, 2021
His rushing ability at the quarterback position has been historically great, and took home the NFL MVP award in his second season at just 23 years old.
Jackson has gotten off to one of the most thrilling starts to a career in league history, but how long can it last?
He’s rushed the ball 147, 176 and 159 times respectively in the first three seasons in the league.
While Jackson is way more than just a running back playing quarterback, his workload on the ground has resembled that of a solid backfield rusher, which complicates things for a future deal.
There’s a generally accepted hesitancy from NFL teams to pay running backs big money for long periods of time, and that predisposition might hurt Jackson in his next contract.
However, there’s no denying his value to the Ravens, and the organization can’t afford to move forward without him.
Despite his style of play, Jackson has played in 30 out of a possible 32 regular-season games in the last two years, and figures to continue to make strides as a passer.
His counting stats in the pocket don’t necessarily show that he improved from 2019 to 2020, but he’s still such a young player who brings MVP-type talent to each game.
The sweet spot for Jackson’s next contract might include a shorter number of years, but a supremely high average annual value.
Prescott received four years, $160 million, with $126 million of that total guaranteed.
Jackson will probably come in just short of that with regards to years and total contract value, but stands to make a boatload of money in each season.
While a contract structured like that may be viewed as a loss for Jackson, he could stand to make an additional lucrative sum after this agreement, provided he stays healthy and continues to dazzle on Sundays.