Ravens take another step towards signing Lamar Jackson long-term

The Baltimore Ravens are putting forth a genuine effort to re-signing Lamar Jackson long-term.

Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta is quite literally taking his talents to South Beach in an attempt to sign Lamar Jackson to a long-term deal.

The South Florida native has had one of the most tumultuous negotiation processes we have seen in some time. For better or worse, he is this year’s Kirk Cousins or Dak Prescott. While Baltimore absolutely wants to retain him, the self-represented quarterback could want to take his talents to South Beach, or anywhere for that matter, possibly somewhere in the Dirty South in free agency.

With the clock ticking, DeCosta has flown down to Miami to speak with Jackson about what it would take for him to finally put pen to paper and sign a long-term extension with the Ravens. Despite well over a year now of contract negotiations, the Baltimore brass and the former NFL MVP quarterback remain far apart. He may get tagged, potentially of the non-exclusive variety.

Without debate, Jackson is the most important domino yet to fall heading into NFL free agency.

Baltimore Ravens GM Eric DeCosta trying to get Lamar Jackson to sign long-term

Look. It certainly serves the Ravens to have a long-term deal in place with Jackson well before the offseason program commences. He is every bit a franchise quarterback, so having the negotiating process drag out even further will be beyond eye-gouging for everyone involved. The best thing for the Ravens and Jackson is to have a new deal in place heading into OTAs, well before fall camp.

While it has not really been about getting a fully-guaranteed contract for Jackson, the discrepancy in the amount of that money being fully-guaranteed seems to be the real sticking point. Nobody is getting the Deshaun Watson deal because nobody is that stupid or desperate enough like the Cleveland Browns were to upgrade the quarterback position. But he is better than Kyler Murray…

In truth, stubbornness and ego on both sides have led us to this critical point. It is why the Ravens are almost certainly tagging Jackson. Whether it is an exclusive or a non-exclusive tag will serve as the most impactful decision DeCosta has made running the Ravens since taking over for iconic general manager Ozzie Newsome right after Jackson was drafted out of Louisville back in 2018.

If it is the exclusive tag, it may hurt Jackson’s leverage to go play elsewhere, but it could serve as a bridge to mend fences and try to make this thing work. It shows Baltimore’s commitment to its franchise quarterback, now and in the future. Should it be non-exclusive, it may afford Jackson the freedom to speak with other teams, but it does feel like a separation before an inevitable divorce.

Either way, Jackson’s free agency will be the biggest factor in setting the new quarterback market.

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