Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson. Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

The Ravens and franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson have agreed in principle on a five-year contract extension, completing a saga that has dragged on for months and affirming Jackson as the face of the franchise for the foreseeable future.

The team announced the deal hours before the NFL Draft was set to begin in Kansas City. Terms had not been disclosed, but it was expected that the deal could make Jackson the highest-paid player in the league.

In a video released by the team when it announced the deal, Jackson said, “For the last few months, there’s been a lot of he say, she say,’ a lot of nail-biting, a lot of head-scratching going on. But for the next five years, there’s a lot of Flock going on! Let’s go baby! … Can’t wait to get there, can’t wait to light up M&T for the next five years.”

Speaking after the opening round of the NFL Draft ended, general manager Eric DeCosta acknowledged the emotional toll that the negotiations had taken, with both sides entrenched in an impasse that lasted more than a year.

“Sometimes these things can happen in two weeks, and sometimes it takes two years,” DeCosta said. “This was on that scale. I know that our appreciation and love for Lamar has never really wavered, but it was business as well.”

“Sometimes with families, things can get tough,” DeCosta added. “We all feel that sometimes, when you’re in a fight with your parents, or a sibling or you’re trying to figure something out. … There was definitely some emotion, but in the end, we’ve been blessed to have Lamar as part of this organization for a long time.”

Jackson and the Ravens had been at an impasse for more than a year regarding an extension, with Jackson reportedly looking for a fully guaranteed deal in the neighborhood of the five-year, $230 million deal that the Cleveland Browns gave to Deshaun Watson last year.

The Ravens showed no interest in giving a fully guaranteed deal, and recent deals given to other franchise quarterbacks proved that the Watson contract was a significant outlier. Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Jalen Hurts to a five-year, $255 million deal with $179 million guaranteed, and Jackson’s essentially comes in a tick higher.

“The market is what the market is,” DeCosta said. “John [Harbaugh] says it all the time. But I think the way we fell about Lamar, it’s the market-plus. … We’ve seen Lamar. We’ve won lots of games with Lamar. We’re around him all the time. And we do feel that he’s the best quarterback in the NFL, and I think this contract reflects that.”

Read more at PressBox.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *