Lamar Jackson has started the 2022 NFL regular season in spectacular style and every touchdown pass only amplifies the chatter about his next contract. Most of the noise concerns what exactly the Baltimore Ravens are waiting for before they offer their franchise quarterback a lucrative new deal.
It’s not easy guessing the thought process of general manager Eric DeCosta, but one Hall of Fame quarterback believes things don’t have to be so complicated. Instead, this Super Bowl-winning passer thinks the Ravens’ front office should make a decision now and prevent Jackson’s future from becoming an issue that drags on and on, one way or another.
Hall of Famer Has His Say on Jackson’s Future
Two-time league MVP Kurt Warner is tired of waiting for a resolution to Jackson’s contract situation. He’s offered some direct advice to the Ravens:
Warner knows how much a settled quarterback can transform the fortunes of a team. His sensational emergence instantly turned the 1999 St. Louis Rams from losers into Super Bowl champions.
A bumper new contract was Warner’s reward for being named MVP in Super Bowl XXXIV. He returned the Rams and their ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ offense to the Super Bowl two seasons later, only to lose to an upstart Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
It’s understandable for Warner to believe the Ravens need to pay up to keep Jackson sweet. Especially since the early performances of what amounts to Jackson’s contract season already indicate he’s going to play at the peak of his powers this year.
Jackson couldn’t prevent the Ravens from losing a wild shootout to the Miami Dolphins in Week 2, but the defeat owed more to coverage breakdowns than the QB’s performance. No. 8 still threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns.
Aside from all the magic through the air, Jackson also added nine rushes for 119 yards and another score. Those yards on the ground gave the fifth-year pro a league record all to himself:
Jackson is delivering in what could be his final year as a Raven. Every star-studded performance like the one against the Dolphins appears to only strengthen his negotiating position.
Yet, not everybody is convinced Jackson’s numbers will sway the Ravens into paying more than they’re prepared to give away.
Former NFL Offensive Lineman Makes Franchise Tag Prediction
Ex-Washington, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, Patriots and Cleveland Browns O-lineman Ross Tucker doesn’t believe Jackson’s performances through two weeks have earned him any more money. Instead, the host of the Ross Tucker Football Podcast insists the Ravens “are gonna franchise tag him the next two years.”
Tucker identified Jackson’s desire to receive a fully guaranteed contract as the obvious sticking point between player and franchise. If things remain at an impasse, the Ravens will have little choice but to use the tag at least once.
It wouldn’t be the worst thing for Jackson, who could essentially bet on himself for one or two seasons. He’d then be in a position to parlay those two years into a huge contract entering the 2025 campaign.
The scenario wouldn’t be as palatable for both sides as a mega-bucks contract extension, but using the tags would also give the Ravens time to find a potential successor for Jackson. It may not come to that, but the longer Jackson goes without fresh terms, the more DeCosta will have to think about safeguarding his team’s future at football’s most important position.