OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Reports have surfaced this week that the Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson remain far apart on contract talks.
Given the NFL has yet to release an official salary-cap figure for the 2021 season, it would seem a stretch for the sides to even engage in meaningful conversations.
The Ravens are not naive and they know Jackson's market value.
Last year, Deshaun Watson became the latest quarterback to land a mega-deal, inking a four-year, $156 million extension with the Houston Texans. Watson has since demanded a trade from the struggling franchise.
Patrick Mahomes signed a 10-year extension worth up to $503 million with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020. 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.
Those recent contracts have set the market for Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is still playing under his rookie deal and averages $2.4 million per season. Jackson is not due to become an unrestricted free agent until 2023.
Mahomes, the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft, has thrown for 14,152 yards with 114 touchdowns and 24 interceptions over 46 regular-season games. He also has thrown for 2,324 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions over eight postseason games (6-2) and was named MVP of last year's Super Bowl.
Watson was selected by the Texans with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 draft. He has thrown for 14,539 passing yards, 104 touchdowns with 36 interceptions over 54 regular-season games (53 starts). Watson has also run for 1,677 yards with 17 touchdowns over that span.
Jackson, who was selected by the Ravens with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 draft, has gone 30-7 as the starter in the regular season. He has thrown for 7,085 yards with 68 touchdowns and 18 interceptions over his young career. Jackson is also the only quarterback in NFL history to run for over 1,000 yards in two seasons and has 2,906 yards rushing and 19 scores overall.
Jackson also won the first playoff game of his career this past season over the Tennessee Titans. The Ravens are fully committed to him over the long term and expect to reach a new contract before he can test the free-agent market.
The deal will eventually get done.
The Ravens generally complete big extensions later in the offseason. Players, such as tight end Nick Boyle, cornerback Tavon Young, and Patrick Ricard, were completed in February and March but the bigger contracts usually happen after the draft and when the team has gone through free agency.
"There is certainly a chance of that," Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta said. "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.”