Report: Lamar Jackson turned down $133 million fully guaranteed – NBC Sports

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Washington Commanders vs. Baltimore Ravens

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It used to be impossible to gauge whether Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson should have taken the best offer the team made on a long-term contract instead of playing in the final year of his $23 million rookie contract. There is now a firm data point on the deal he rejected.

ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen reports that Jackson passed on a six-year deal (i.efive-year extension) that would have paid him $133 million fully guaranteed at signing. That’s more than a Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray ($103.3 million) and Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson ($124 million) received in full guarantees on longer contracts (seven years each) signed in recent weeks.

Jackson”could have won” over $290 million over six years. The new-money average would have exceeded, through Mortensen, the $48.5 million paid by the Broncos to Wilson. (Wilson’s deal was reported as having a new-money average of $49 million; as explained herethe failure to include the value of the 17th-game checks for 2022 and 2023 in the old/new-money comparison pushed the average down to $48.5 million.)

It’s unclear how much of the $290 million would have counted as Jackson’s base deal. Including the 17th-game check, he will make $24.35 million this year. Subtracting that from $290 million and dividing by five results in an average of $53.13 million. Thus, Jackson apparently would have had to hit certain triggers to earn the kind of money that would catapult him to $290 million.

Mortensen also reports that the deal included massive de-escalators ($2.5 million per year) tied for Jackson participating in most of the offseason program. Jackson skipped the team’s voluntary sessions and practices from April to June in 2022, after attending most if not all of his first four seasons.

The reporting has a number of shortcomings that make a full evaluation of the offer impossible. What would be the first year’s cash flow? How much of the contract would be guaranteed for injury? How much of the injury guarantee would be converted to a full guarantee in March 2023, because there’s no way they’d cut him after just one year, given whatever they’d pay him in 2022?

None of that seems to matter, as Mortensen explains that Jackson wanted a fully guaranteed, Deshaun Watson-style contract. And, as assumed hereMortensen reports that Jackson received “active counsel of the NFLPA at the highest levels.” Mortensen also adds that the union told Jackson “based on performance and age (25) he was justified in demanding a fully guaranteed contract if that’s what he wanted.”

He is justified in demanding it, but the Ravens are justified in refusing to do it, just as the Cardinals and Broncos were. Remember, the union has explained his position that it wants more fully guaranteed contracts. It is therefore fair to ask whether the NFLPA’s agenda in this regard clouded the advice Jackson received, making him roll the dice on possible. Kirk Cousins-styleyear-to-year strategy that involves playing in 2023 and 2024 under the franchise tag, becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2025, and trying to get a fully guaranteed contract on the open market.

Jackson could earn more than $125 million (taking into account the seventeenth game control) if he remains healthy and effective enough to be tagged twice. But, according to the report, would have $133 million fully guaranteed now if he had accepted the Ravens offer, plus an unknown amount on top of that in injury guarantees, which would likely have changed to full guarantees sometime in the next year or two.

Perhaps most importantly, he would also have made well over $24.35 million in 2022. The specific amount is not yet known. It is a key factor in evaluating the deal.

What if he walked away with more than $50 million, cash in hand, for 2022? Over $70 million? Over $100 million? At some point, the search for a fully guaranteed contract must yield to the size of the bird in the hand.

We’ve said all along that Jackson needs someone who can fully and objectively evaluate the team’s best offer compared to a three-year pursuit of unrestricted free agency that may – or may not – lead to the white whale of a fully guaranteed. an agreement The union, frankly, is not objective; it wants players to hold out for fully guaranteed contracts so that the dynamic becomes a trend and, over time, standard practice. Jackson needs advice from someone without an agenda or bias.

And if Jackson suffers a major injury or if his play declines over the next three years for any reason (including an accumulation of minor injuries based on his physical style of play that leaves him not the player he was when he won the MVP award three years ago years. ), Jackson will have only himself – and his union – to blame for betting on himself and losing.

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