Lamar Jackson represents himself in his contract negotiations, and he is now speaking for himself while the insiders release whatever morsels of information they have about the marathon discussions between him and the Baltimore Ravens about an extension. Some new information has come from Adam Schefter, and Lamar Jackson threw a metaphorical challenge flag at it on Twitter.
Near the end of Monday’s episode of The Adam Schefter Podcast, Schefter discussed the piece that he and Chris Mortensen put together in September about Jackson turning down a 5-year, $250 million contract offer from the Ravens.
They reported that $133 million of it was guaranteed. That is a smaller guarantee than what Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson received. And, lest we forget, Deshaun Watson received a fully guaranteed deal. Schefter claimed on his podcast that the total guarantees in the offer that Jackson turned down added up to $200 million.
Jackson saw the SB Nation blog Baltimore Beatdown tweet out a story they published about the episode and he enthusiastically called cap on Schefter’s statements.
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How Schefter said the guarantees in the contract would have worked is that Jackson would have been due $133 million at signing. The other $77 million would have come through an “injury” guarantee for $42 million, and the rest from a “springing” guarantee.
A few minutes later Schefter had to call cap on himself about that “springing” guarantee. After explaining what that actually meant he said, “so maybe it’s not a guarantee.” Jackson would have received a $25 million sum only if he was on Ravens’ roster on the fifth day of the league year in 2026. That sounds more like a big ole roster bonus to me, but maybe my understanding of the definition of the word guaranteed is off.
Not only did Jackson send the cap gif, but also claimed that what he was offered from the Ravens was a three-year fully guaranteed $133 million. A number that should be considered objectively low for a player who won an MVP on his rookie contract.
After NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport sent out a slightly messy quote tweet, about Jackson’s response to Schefter’s information, he did a television hit. His information pretty much corroborated what Jackson tweeted. The Ravens thought that a shorter deal with a lower annual payout, but fully guaranteed, was a good compromise. Three years and worth just over $44 million per year while Watson gets five fully guaranteed and is making $46 million per year. Jackson probably doesn’t need an agent to see that the math is not mathing.
What is both most interesting and disturbing about this negotiation process between the Ravens and Jackson is how quickly people with no vested interest in the outcome are jumping to the franchise’s defense. Schefter spent nearly seven minutes of a 36-minute podcast — 20 of which was spent interviewing Patrick Peterson — saying that the Ravens actually made a better offer than what he reported in the fall.
Rapoport sees Jackson’s reaction and then does a hit on NFL Network to explain to the audience what three-year offer Jackson was referring to, but at the end, he too delivers a pro-Ravens message.
“It [has] been pretty obvious that the Ravens have tried every different way to try to get this contract done,” Rapoport said on NFL Network. “Long, short, a lot of guarantees, not as much guarantees but high APY, it simply has not happened.”
There is one way to get this contract done that Ravens clearly haven’t tried, and that is giving Jackson what he wants. It appears that they are intent on not giving him a five-year contract with a guaranteed dollar amount he sees as respectable.
It is odd that the Ravens are playing such hardball with one of the best players in the NFL, but that is their choice. What the NFL’s top information brokers should not be choosing to do though, is deliver a message that paints the organization as blameless.