Lamar Jackson turned down Baltimore Ravens offer worth more than $290 million, wants deal fully guaranteed at signing, sources say – ESPN

Lamar Jackson turned down Baltimore Ravens offer worth more than $290 million, wants deal fully guaranteed at signing, sources say - ESPN

Although Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have kept details of their contract negotiations private, the star quarterback turned down a five-year extension offer worth more than $250 million with $133 million guaranteed at signing, sources told ESPN.

The extension, which ran through the 2027 season, would have increased the total value of Jackson’s deal to just under $274 million over six years, according to sources. Jackson would have played the $23 million five-year option on his rookie deal before the extension began in 2023.

The extension years in the Ravens’ proposal would have paid Jackson a higher average salary than the deals signed this summer by the Broncos quarterback. Russell Wilson and Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and also included more money guaranteed at signing, according to sources.

But sources told ESPN that the Ravens also refused Jackson’s desire for a deal that was fully guaranteed at signing, similar to Deshaun Watson‘s, prompting the sides to announce on Friday that they have tabled contract negotiations until after the 2022 season.

Wilson signed a $242.5 million deal earlier this month that averaged $48.5 million annually and included $161 million guaranteed, about six weeks after Murray received a $230.5 million deal that averaged $46 million annually and included $189.5 million guaranteed.

But the issue for Jackson wasn’t Wilson’s or Murray’s deal as much as it was Watson’s, according to sources. The Browns signed Watson to a $230 million contract that was fully guaranteed at signing. The Ravens’ offer of $133 million fully guaranteed at signing was more than that of Wilson ($124 million) and Murray ($103.3 million) but well short of Watson’s.

Jackson acted as his own agent in the negotiations relying on the help of his mother and the NFL Players Association, whose task is to offer statistics, information, guidance and to be a sounding board, which was during this process.

The union advised Jackson, 25, that based on his performance and age, he was justified in demanding a fully guaranteed contract, sources said.

Union sources framed the Ravens’ talks with Jackson as “good faith”, although the team included $2.5 million in annual deescalator clauses if Jackson did not participate in a high percentage of offseason workouts.

Jackson will earn $23.016 million in his fifth-year option but has no guaranteed money after this season. He hopes to get an extension after this season with the Ravens, who are expected to apply their franchise tag on Jackson and prevent him from hitting true free agency if the sides still can’t reach an agreement.

Jackson is making the biggest bet in football on himself, similar to the former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco — who starts against Baltimore on Sunday for the Jets — did in the 2012 season. Flacco’s deal was set to expire, and he led Baltimore to a Super Bowl title before becoming one of the highest-paid players in the NFL.

Jackson, who has more hits (737) than any other quarterback since 2018, was asked last week if he felt it was a risk to play without guaranteed money after this season.

“It was a pretty big risk last season. The year before,” Jackson said Wednesday. “I’m just playing football. Anything can happen. God forbid the wrong thing happens.”

Jackson has proven to be one of the NFL’s best playmakers and winners over the past four seasons. Since he became the Ravens’ starter midway through the 2018 season, Baltimore is 37-12 (.755) with him and 2-5 (.286) without him. He was the unanimous NFL MVP in 2019.

But Jackson is coming off his toughest season in 2021, when he threw a career-low 13 interceptions and missed a career-high five games, including the last four because of an ankle injury.

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley contributed to this report.

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