Sources: Jackson declined $250M extension offer

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 valued at more than $250 million with $133 million guaranteed upon signing, sources told ESPN. .

According to sources, the extension, which lasted until the 2027 season, reduced the total value of Jackson’s deal to just under $274 million over six years. Jackson will play a $23 million fifth-year option on his rookie deal before the expansion begins in 2023.

Years of expansion into the Ravens’ offer would have paid Jackson a higher average salary than the deals signed by Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson and Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray this summer and would also include a guarantee of more money upon signing, according to sources. according.

But sources told ESPN that the Ravens had also secured a deal at Jackson’s wish to sign a deal that was fully guaranteed, similar to Deshaun Watson, prompting the sides to announce on Friday that they had completed the 2022 season. The contract was negotiated until later.

Wilson signed a $242.5 million deal earlier this month, which averages $48.5 million annually and includes $161 million in guarantees, nearly six weeks after Murray got the $230.5 million deal, which is a yearly The average was $46 million and included $189.5 million in guarantees.

But the issue for Jackson was not Wilson’s deal or Murray’s as it was Watson’s, according to sources. The Browns signed Watson to a $230 million contract, which the signing was absolutely guaranteed. The Ravens’ $133 million offer is fully guaranteed to sign, which was higher than both Wilson ($124 million) and Murray ($103.3 million), but far less than Watson.

Jackson, leaning on the help of his mother and the NFL Players Association, acted as his agent in negotiations, whose job it was to provide statistics, information, guidance and a sounding board throughout the process.

Sources said the union advised the 25-year-old Jackson that based on his performance and age, it was appropriate to demand a fully guaranteed contract from him.

Union sources framed the Ravens’ talks with Jackson as “good faith,” although the team included $2.5 million in an annual de-escalator clause if Jackson didn’t attend a higher percentage of the offseason workouts.

Jackson will earn $23.016 million in his fifth year option, but he has no guaranteed money after this season. He hopes to expand with the Ravens later this season, who are expected to impose his franchise tag on Jackson and prevent him from hitting true free agency if the side is still unable to reach a deal. .

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

Jackson, who has taken more hits (737) than any other quarterback since 2018, was asked last week whether he thought it was a risk to play with unsecured money beyond this season.

“It was a huge risk last season. A year ago,” Jackson said on Wednesday. “I’m just playing football. Anything can happen. God forbid anything goes wrong.”

Jackson has proven to be one of the NFL’s top playmates and winners over the past four seasons. Since he became the Ravens’ starter in the middle of 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 most challenging season in 2021, when he threw a career-worst 13 interceptions and missed a career-high five games, including the last four, due to an ankle injury.

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley contributed to this report.

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