Monday, October 3, 2022

Hall of Fame QB gives Ravens Lamar Jackson contract advice

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Lamar Jackson has started the 2022 NFL regular season in spectacular fashion, and every touchdown pass only adds to the chatter about his next contract. Most of the noise has centered on what exactly the Baltimore Ravens are waiting for before offering their franchise quarterback a lucrative new deal.

It’s not easy to guess general manager Eric DeCosta’s thought process, but one Hall of Famer quarterback believes things don’t have to be that complicated. Instead, this Super Bowl-winning passerby thinks the Ravens front office should make a decision now and prevent Jackson’s future from becoming an issue that stretches out one way or another.

Two-time league MVP Kurt Warner is tired of waiting for a resolution of Jackson’s contract situation. He has given the Ravens some direct advice:

Warner knows how much an established quarterback can change the fortunes of a team. His sensational rise instantly transformed the 1999 St. Louis Rams from losers to Super Bowl champions.

A record contract was Warner’s reward for being named MVP in Super Bowl XXXIV. He brought the Rams and their “Greatest Show on Turf” offense back to the Super Bowl two seasons later, only to lose to an upstart Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

It’s understandable that Warner feels the Ravens have to pay to keep Jackson cute. Especially since the early performances of Jackson’s contract season already indicate that he will play at the peak of his powers this year.

Jackson couldn’t stop the Ravens from losing a wild shootout to the Miami Dolphins in Week 2, but the loss was due more to cover breakdowns than the QB’s performance. No. 8 threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns.

Aside from all the magic through the air, Jackson also added nine rushes for 119 yards and one more score. Those yards on the ground gave the fifth grader a pro league record all for yourself:

Jackson delivers in what may be his final year as Raven. Any high-profile performance like the one against the Dolphins only seems to strengthen his negotiating position.

But not everyone is convinced that Jackson’s numbers will make the Ravens pay more than they’re willing to give.

Ex-Washington, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, Patriots and Cleveland Browns O-lineman Ross Tucker doesn’t think Jackson’s performances in two weeks have brought him any more money. Instead, the host is the Ross Tucker Football Podcast insists the Ravens “will mark him as a franchise within the next two years.”

Tucker identified Jackson’s desire to receive a fully guaranteed contract as the obvious sticking point between the player and the franchise. If things remain at a dead end, the Ravens have no choice but to use the tag at least once.

It wouldn’t be the worst for Jackson, who could essentially bet on himself for a season or two. He would then be able to convert those two years into a huge deal for the 2025 campaign.

The scenario wouldn’t be as palatable to either side as a mega-dollar contract extension, but using the tags would also give the Ravens time to find a potential replacement for Jackson. It may not come to that, but the longer Jackson goes without a new term, the more DeCosta has to think about securing his team’s future at football’s most important position.

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