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Ravens dropped the ball in not paying Lamar Jackson

Ravens Lamar Jackson Contract

After months of tension, the Baltimore Ravens and star quarterback Lamar Jackson failed to reach a new contract agreement before the season. While other quarterbacks such as Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson got big new deals this offseason, Jackson is still waiting on his. Now the 2019 NFL MVP will play this season on his fifth-year option, which pays him $23 million.

The Lamar Jackson Contract Situation With Ravens

Both Jackson and the Ravens are taking a massive gamble with this move. Jackson, who is coming off a subpar season by his standards, knows he must rebound this season. Even if he doesn’t though, Jackson should have no trouble finding a starting job, even if it’s not win Baltimore.

On the other hand, what do the Ravens do in that scenario? The only other quarterback on the roster is Tyler Huntley, who looked solid in relief of Jackson last season. Still, trusting him to be a full-time starter is a huge risk.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Ravens will likely tag Jackson next offseason, but that comes with its own set of risks. Many players have held out over the franchise tag, most recently Bengals safety Jessie Bates. Even for those that don’t hold out, the relationship between the team and player becomes tenuous, such as Kirk Cousins in Washington.

Jackson does not have an agent, and instead negotiates his own deals. He will do what’s in his best interest, and that could mean leaving Baltimore.

To play Devil’s advocate, paying Jackson has some big risks on its own. He’s coming off his worst statistical season as a starter, tossing just 16 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. He also missed substantial time due to injury, and his style of play can lead to more injury concerns.

When looking around the rest of the league though, Jackson easily deserves a second big contract. If Wilson, who is 34, can get a long-term extension before even playing a snap for his new team, then the Ravens can give Jackson one. If Watson, who hasn’t played in nearly two years and has dozens of lawsuits against him, can get a long-term, fully-guaranteed extension before playing a snap for his new team, then the Ravens can give Jackson one.

The Ravens also haven’t given Jackson as much help as they could in his time with the team. His receivers have ranged from bad to average, and looks more questionable with Marquise Brown gone. While he has one of football’s best tight ends in Mark Andrews, imagine him with a true star receiver.

Baltimore is a team in win-now mode, and they have an elite quarterback in the prime of his career. Not resigning Jackson would be nothing short of a disaster for the Ravens. They hope to avoid that fate, but it’s looming closer and closer every day.