Lamar Jackson bets on himself, puts Ravens in a huge pickle

The Ravens and Lamar Jackson could not reach an agreement on a contract extension before the start of the 2022 season. Here’s what that means:

Jackson is essentially betting on himself moving forward.

Lamar will make $23 million this season, and is expected to be franchise tagged next year, per Adam Schefter. That franchise tag would pay him at the upper echelon of his position, but it does not guarantee him the flexibility of a long-term contract. Important to note: He still doesn’t have an agent.

Both Baltimore and Jackson are taking a gamble in this scenario. Here’s how it could come back to haunt both sides, depending on the outcome of this season.

Lamar Jackson contract: What failed extension means

It means Jackson has little margin for error. Coming off a season filled with injuries — even for himself — the Ravens know they must ride Jackson hard if they are to make the playoffs, and win the AFC North.

Jackson cannot get hurt again, or miss significant time. If he does, it may impact contract talks moving forward or his future in Baltimore altogether.

The Louisville product is just a two years removed from winning the NFL MVP. At times, his arm has proven inconsistent, but he’s dynamic at his best. If he plays that way again this season, his value will only increase.

Lamar Jackson contract: What failed extension means for Ravens

By not giving Jackson the money he wants now, the Ravens risk losing him altogether. Here’s how:

If Jackson plays to the best of his ability, his price will only increase. Add in the obvious factor that contracts for quarterbacks will only go up as time goes by, and Jackson’s value increases with every healthy down he plays. Is that a price point the Ravens can match?

If Jackson gets hurt again, it puts Baltimore in a pickle. They’d have to franchise tag Jackson next offseason, or reach an agreement on a new contract with a quarterback coming off two straight seasons of severe injuries. It’s a tough conversation to have.

The waiting game won’t bring clarity, in this case.

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