OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Lamar Jackson is headed for a huge payday.
The only question is whether he will become the highest-paid quarterback in the league.
The likely starting point for a contract extension with the Ravens is $40 million annually.
Patrick Mahomes jolted the market for quarterbacks with a 10-year extension worth up to $503 million with the Chiefs. The deal is the most lucrative in North American sports history, surpassing the previous mark set by Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who signed a 12-year, $426.5 million deal in 2019.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson inked a four-year, $156 million extension in September and that would be a better model for a potential new deal for Jackson.
Quarterback Dak Prescott reached a four-year, $160 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys. He gets $126 million in guaranteed money and he will earn $75 million dollars next season, the most of any player in a single season in NFL history.
Some analysts contend that Jackson's new deal will fall somewhere between the contract of Mahomes and Prescott.
"It wouldn't surprise people around the league if Jackson's deal came in behind Mahomes' $45 million-a-year average and ahead of Prescott's $40 million, but the key will be to watch the structure and guarantees,” ESPN's Dan Fraziano wrote.
Jackson’s potential deal will affect the way the Ravens conduct business moving forward, according to general manager Eric DeCosta. Jackson’s contract could impact the way Ravens are able to sign potential free agents. As a result, the draft will become even more critical to the team’s success.
That’s also a risk the Ravens are willing to take.
“We try to be aggressive as well. We’ve tried to be proactive, as I think you’ve seen in the last few years with contracts with veteran players [and] with guys that we’ve drafted and developed,” DeCosta said.
“We’ve tried to keep as many of those guys as possible. We understand that if we do sign a long-term deal with Lamar Jackson, that’s going to change the way we’ve operated the last couple of years. We certainly understand that, and we look at that as a great problem to have. We aspire to [have] that type of problem. We want to have the franchise quarterback.”