Lamar Jackson is entering his fourth year as the Ravens starting quarterback and expectations are soaring.
Jackson silenced many critics by winning the first playoff game of his young career last season at Tennessee. Still, he has his detractors that claim his style of play can’t win a Super Bowl.
The outside noise doesn’t bother him.
The Ravens are once again among the favorites to win a title and Jackson is continuing to evolve as a quarterback.
“I’m going to try to be more of a vocal leader,” Jackson said at the recent OTAs. “I always say that, but I’ve got to start presenting it how it should, [how] the guys are wanting me to sometimes. But lead by example, work hard. We’re trying not to make mistakes. If we do make a mistake, we’re going to repeat it until it’s right.
“We’re trying to perfect our craft. We’re trying to be perfect out there, even though some things are not going to be perfect – but we’re trying to make it happen. So, that’s about it – just lead by example.”
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) May 26, 2021
The biggest storyline of the offseason is whether Jackson and the Ravens will agree to a contract extension. The two sides have talked about a new deal and negotiations will likely heat up in the coming weeks.
“I spoke with ‘Mr. EDC’ probably like a month or two ago. I would love to be here forever,” Jackson said. “I love Baltimore. I love the whole organization. I love everybody in the building. But hopefully, we’ll be making something happen pretty soon or whenever.”
Jackson, who was selected by the Ravens with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 draft, has gone 30-7 as the starter in the regular season. He has thrown for 7,085 yards with 68 touchdowns and 18 interceptions over his career.
Jackson will likely want a deal around $40 million per season, similar or more than that of quarterback Dak Prescott, who reached a four-year, $160 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys.
However, there is already talk about Jackon becoming the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, perhaps higher than Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, who signed a 10-year extension worth up to $503 million with the Chiefs.
“I’m really focused on the season. I’m focused on trying to win,” Jackson said. “I’m not really worried about if it gets done this year or next year. I’m just trying to build and stack, and we’re going to see. We don’t know yet.”
The Ravens are already preparing for Jackson’s new deal. It will affect the way the team conducts business across the board.
But it’s a risk GM Eric DeCosta is willing to take.
“It will change the way that we do contracts, potentially,” DeCosta said about Jackson’s potential new deal. “We will have to be probably a little bit more careful about which players we sign and which players we don’t sign. We may lose some good, young players.
“That’s unfortunately just the salary cap age that we’re in, and it happens to every single team. So, we’ll be aggressive, if possible. I think the Draft will continue and will always remain the lifeblood of this organization when it comes to building this team and building the roster, and Draft picks will be more important than ever.”