OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta will initiate a contract extension with quarterback Lamar Jackson by early February 2021.
"I will be talking with Lamar probably within the next 10 days or so," DeCosta said in a meeting with reporters on Jan. 25. "He’s down in Florida, but we’ve got a great relationship. He’s got a great relationship with this organization. He’s a very easy person to talk to, and certainly deserves a contract. He has played phenomenal football over the last couple of years, and our intention – and my intention – is to keep him in Baltimore for many, many years.”
Jackson is not due to become an unrestricted free agent until 2023, but the Ravens have prioritized reaching deals with their key playmakers before they test the free-agent market. However, the NFL is still working out the details of how much teams can spend this year after dealing with the challenges of COVID-19 over the past year.
Patrick Mahomes jolted the market for quarterbacks with a 10-year extension worth up, $503 million deal 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 contract 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.
A new deal for Jackson would likely be worth about $43.5 million annually over a four-year extension.
If the Ravens can't get a new deal completed early in the offseason, DeCosta will undoubtedly exercise Jackson's fifth-year option by May 3.
One year after being named NFL, MVP, Jackson had another solid season in 2020. He threw for 2,757 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions (99.3 rating). Jackson also became the first quarterback in league history to record two 1,000 yards rushing seasons.
Jackson's season came to a disappointing end with a 17-3 loss to the Bills. He threw a critical interception on a third-and-goal to Buffalo cornerback Taron Johnson, who ran 101 yards for the score. Baltimore never recovered and Jackson was later forced from the game with a concussion.
The Ravens need to get him more support on the offensive line with pass blocking and a playmaking wide receiver.