Lamar Jackson has yet to agree to a new contract with the Baltimore Ravens, and according to Stephen A. Smith, it would be the “dumbest” move if he plays in 2022 without signing an extension.
Speaking on ESPN, Smith emphasized that Jackson would be putting his career in jeopardy if he plays without the guarantee of the extension. The veteran sports commentator added that it would be a “grave, grave mistake to roll those dice and take those chances.”
“Not at all. Not even a little bit,” Smith said when asked whether Jackson should play in the season opener even with his contract extension in limbo, via Larry Brown Sports. “I think that would be one of the dumbest things he could possibly do.
“We understand that last year when you were out the last four games wasn’t the first time you had an injury in your career. You’ve had various injuries in your career. Something could end your season. Something could end your career. It wasn’t like you hurt your hand or hurt your shoulder — no no, brother, you hurt those wheels. Those electrifying wheels that we have never seen from the quarterback position in the history of the game. You went down with an ankle injury.”
Lamar Jackson has already given the Ravens an ultimatum, telling the team that he will stop negotiations by season opener if they don't reach an agreement before that. While he has been practicing with the team despite the contract issue, it is unknown whether he'll also suit up if his status remains the same.
For what it's worth, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network recently reported that the Ravens are prepared to pay Jackson more than the five-year, $230.5 million extension that Kyler Murray signed with the Arizona Cardinals. That means the veteran QB could be in line for a massive payday, though it remains to be seen whether or not Baltimore would make the offer before the season starts.