The 2019 NFL MVP tested positive for COVID-19 last week, forcing him to miss the first two weeks of training camp. Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley stepped up to compete for the backup quarterback job in Jackson’s absence.
Jackson’s positive COVID test was a disappointment for a Ravens team that revamped its offense this offseason, adding veteran Sammy Watkins and rookie Rashod Bateman to its wide receiver room. The electric dual-threat quarterback will be looking to hit the ground running in his first training camp practice of the preseason.
False Start to Training Camp
While Jackson was able to take reps with his new targets in OTAs in June, missing the first two weeks of practice will force him to catch up quickly.
Head coach John Harbaugh noted the impact of Jackson’s missed time, telling media on Tuesday, “The train will be moving. Lamar’s gonna have to run and jump on while it’s moving. But he’s pretty fast, so I think he’s capable of doing that,” according to NFL.com.
Harbaugh also said he found a silver lining to his star quarterback’s absence, saying the quality reps taken by backups McSorley and Huntley are “good for us from a depth standpoint, developing those guys.”
Injuries have also set the Ravens back to start the preseason, with veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith suffering a low ankle sprain in today’s practice. Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, one of Jackson’s favorite targets, hurt his hamstring last week, and the injury was revealed to be more serious than expected, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. Wideouts Bateman and Miles Boykin are also dealing with minor injuries.
Hopefully, the Ravens will recover quickly enough to have their offense at full-strength by the start of the regular season.
Allen’s Contract Could Set Price for Jackson
Adam Schefter revealed the details of the deal, which averages $43 million per year with $150 guaranteed.
Allen’s massive extension, the first of any quarterback drafted in 2018, is likely to impact Lamar Jackson’s current negotiations with the Ravens. Allen was drafted by the Bills with the seventh pick in the 2018 draft, and Jackson went to the Ravens with the 32nd pick.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Jackson’s mother, Felicia Jones, is helping him negotiate his deal. Jones previously represented her son when negotiating his rookie contract with the Ravens.
Jackson, who has one MVP award to Allen’s zero and three playoff berths to Allen’s two, is likely to command at least $43 million per year, potentially approaching the $45 million average annual value of the Chiefs‘ Patrick Mahomes.
There is obvious mutual interest in a contract extension, as the Ravens want to lock up their franchise quarterback, who took over the starting job after veteran Joe Flacco went down in 2018. The team redesigned their offense around Jackson, who led them to three consecutive postseason appearances.
Jackson, for his part, seems determined to stay in Baltimore for his whole career.
“I would love to be here forever,” Jackson told media in May.
While there have not been any recent updates on Jackson’s contract, Allen’s deal is likely to be a factor in the negotiations. But the Ravens know that Jackson is one of the most valuable players in the NFL, so they’ll be more than happy to write Jackson a massive check to keep him in Baltimore for years to come.