Lamar Jackson sets hard deadline for contract talks as extension threatens to loom over Ravens season

Four days out of Baltimore’s season opener on Wednesday, and Lamar Jackson still doesn’t have a new contract.

After previously suggesting that Week 1 would mark the end of their talks, the Ravens quarterback set a firm deadline while speaking to reporters on Wednesday.

“As of now, you know, we’re still talking,” Jackson said. “The week isn’t over yet. But soon. Soon. Maybe there’s a deadline. Maybe cut off after this week.

“Kickoff, I’m not talking about a contract. I’m thinking of straight jets around kickoff time.”

When asked about an exact time frame, Jackson had this to say:

“Then this weekend,” Jackson continued. “Friday.”

Jackson is entering the fifth and final season of his rookie contract after the Ravens exercised a $23 million option for 2022. Without the extension, he would be eligible for free agency in the off-season. In that instance, the Ravens would retain and possibly use the franchise tag to prevent them from entering the open market.

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But the absence of an extension threatens to hover over the Ravens’ season with their former MVP quarterback’s long-term future uncertain. Jackson, who has no agent, has declined to discuss the details of the talks. He retained his line on Wednesday.

“I have no clue,” Jackson said Asked if he feels closer to a deal than before. “You have to ask the guy I’m talking to.”

Will Lamar Jackson start the season without a contract extension? (Joe Camporiel/Reuters)

Jackson, how close are the Ravens to a deal?

Crows have become mothers in the same way. But reporting shows that the two sides are not close.

The Washington Post’s Mark Muske preceded Jackson’s statement that “Tuesday afternoon was pessimistic” about a deal this week and that Jackson is likely to play the season “except for last-minute shifts” on his rookie contract.

During this, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport told That “nothing is imminent with their contract.” According to both reports, guaranteed money remains a key point in negotiations with Deshaun Watson’s Cleveland Browns contract.

The Browns signed an unprecedented fully-guaranteed $230 million contract this off-season after acquiring Watson in a trade from the Houston Texans. The deal appears to reset the quarterback market, but other high-profile quarterbacks who have signed contracts do not guarantee similar deals.

Kyler Murray signed a $230.5 million extension with the Arizona Cardinals in July, with Max’s value mirroring that of Watson. But the guarantee limit is $160 million. Russell Wilson signed a similar deal with the Denver Broncos in August worth $245 million, which includes $165 million in guarantees.

It’s unclear how far Jackson and the Ravens are in talks or if Jackson is seeking a fully guaranteed deal similar to Watson. As a former league MVP, it stands to reason that he would be seeking a more lucrative deal than Murray. Jackson and Murray are both 25 years old.

It is also unclear how firm Jackson’s deadline is. This is artificial, but both sides have expressed a desire for Jackson to focus on football once the season begins. Having the expansion in place will make this much easier to do.

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