OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson admitted that there has not been much progress with his contract negotiations.
Baltimore would like to reach an extension with Jackson before he becomes a free agent in 2023. Jackson will play next season under a fifth-year option that pays him $23.02 million.
This poses a serious challenge for Ravens GM Eric DeCosta.
If Jackson bounces back from a mostly disappointing and injury-marred 2021 season, his value could increase.
If Jackson further regresses or gets injured, it would put the Ravens in an even tougher spot.
Do they offer him a new deal worth $40 million per season or do they try to reach get Jackson at a better price, between $35 million and $38 million?
If the Ravens don't want to break the bank for Jackson, another team will.
Baltimore could put the franchise tag on Jackson to buy more time for negotiations but that could also cost them close to $30 million.
Josh Allen recently reached a six-year, $258 million extension with the Buffalo Bills that pays him $43 million annually and includes $150 million of guaranteed money.
The contract makes Allen the second-highest-paid total value contract behind the $450 million deal that Patrick Mahomes signed with the Kansas City Chiefs last year.
Jackson most certainly will be looking for a similar deal and possibly more.
Allen, the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, threw for 4,407 passing yards with 36 passing touchdowns and 15 interceptions last season. He also ran for 763 rushing yards on 122 carries with another six scores.
Jackson, who was selected by the Ravens with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 draft, has gone 37-12 as the starter in the regular season. He has thrown for 9,967 yards with 84 touchdowns and 31 interceptions over his four-year career.
Jackson also has a league MVP under his belt and 1-3 in the postseason.
The Ravens believe Jackson is the future of the franchise, but it is going to cost them to keep him.