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The Ravens Costly Mistake Is Now Getting More Expensive

The Ravens and their superstar quarterback failed to reach an extension in the offseason. That looks to become a costly mistake for Baltimore.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson

2022 has been eye-opening for more than a few quarterbacks around the NFL, including the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson. Some of the league’s biggest offseason extensions belonged to Kyler Murray ($230.5 million) and Russell Wilson ($245 million). Aaron Rodgers ($50 million AAV) signed a massive extension as well. While those quarterbacks have cashed in, Jackson and the Ravens have failed to come to an agreement.

What do all of those quarterbacks have in common, besides recently signing massive contract extensions? They’ve played worse than Jackson so far this season. While Wilson, Murray, and Rodgers all look on track to post one of their worst seasons in the NFL, Jackson is poised to compete for his second MVP.

Sure, the Ravens are just 2-2 despite trailing in only 14 seconds of game time this entire season so far. The Packers are 3-1, but Rodgers currently owns a 4.7% touchdown rate. That would be his lowest mark since 2018 and the third-lowest mark of his career. His 2.3% interception rate — over a full season — would be the third-highest of his career.

Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson have struggled mightily this season as well. Thursday Night Football between the Colts and Broncos put Wilson’s struggles out there (once again) for the entire nation to see in primetime. Wilson is on pace for 4,263 passing yards, but just 13 passing touchdowns, and ten interceptions this season. He’s looked absolutely horrendous this season. When compared to Jackson, it’s clear that the cost for the Ravens to extend their superstar quarterback is only growing.

Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson Bet On Himself; So Far, It Has Paid Off

The Ravens and their quarterback failed to reach an extension this offseason, which is old news by now. He currently plays on his fifth-year option, making $23 million guaranteed this season. However, there is limited long-term security in that ordeal for Jackson. He’s set to reach free agency after this season, but of course, the Ravens could choose to apply the franchise tag to their quarterback after this season.

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Were he to play on the tag next season, it currently calculates to $45.4 million, according to Spotrac. Baltimore already cost itself in extension talks by waiting this long to extend their franchise QB. The Watson extension — which pays him a $55 million cap hit in 2023 — has already inflated the tag salary for Jackson in 2023. Not to mention what the Wilson and Murray contracts have done to inflate his extension value as well.

Jackson, of course, leads the NFL in passing touchdowns through four weeks. He’s on pace for 3,795 passing yards, 46 passing touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. On top of that, he’s also on pace for 1,343 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns. In total, that would put the Ravens’ former MVP at 5,138 total yards and 54 total touchdowns. The substantial gap in performance between Jackson — waiting for his first extension — and those who have already been locked up is only going to widen the gap between Jackson’s camp and the Baltimore front office.

The Ravens Will Have To Shell Out A Record Contract To Keep Jackson

Jackson already declined at least one contract extension from the Ravens. The contract — which would have paid the quarterback $250 million over five years — would have put Jackson second in the NFL in terms of AAV behind only Rodgers. In terms of guaranteed money, however, Jackson would have fallen well short of the NFL’s top mark.

NFL’s Top Paid Quarterbacks by Guaranteed Money:

  • 1) Deshaun Watson – $230 million guaranteed (five years, $230 million)
  • 2) Russell Wilson – $165 million guaranteed (five years, $245 million)
  • 3) Kyler Murray – $160 million guaranteed (five years, $230.5 million)
  • 4) Aaron Rodgers – $153 million guaranteed (four years, $200 million)
  • 5) Matthew Stafford – $135 million guaranteed (four years, $160 million)
  • 6) Declined Lamar Jackson Extension – $133 million gtd (five years, $250 million)

When looking at what those quarterbacks above him have done this season, it seems clear that Jackson bet on himself this season and so far, it has paid off. Of course, it’s still early. Plenty could happen between now and the end of the season for both the Ravens and those struggling quarterbacks around the league. However, at just 25 years old, it seems unlikely that Jackson will start to decline from his current performance.

Without question, it may prove difficult for Jackson to maintain his torrid pace for the entire season. Plenty of other quarterbacks have started off on fire but cooled off as the season progressed. With that said, it’s unlikely that the current grand canyon sized gap between his value and that of his struggling peers closes enough to prevent Jackson from cashing in on a historic contract extension that will well exceed any other quarterback in the NFL.

What would that extension look like? It’s hard to say, but $300 million over six years with at least $200 million in guaranteed money seems like it could be the floor for discussions moving forward. Jackson will certainly get what he is owed. What’s left to see is if the Ravens chose to be the ones to give it to him.

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Written By

I'm a life-long Chiefs and Royals fan from Liberty, MO. I've since moved to Seattle, WA. I love the west coast life with my wife, two beautiful children, a german shepherd, and chihuahua. It's my pleasure to grow Stadium Rant as Director of Content, but I still love writing as well about what topics I'm passionate about.

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