Source: Lamar Jackson’s new Ravens deal includes $185M guaranteed

Source: Lamar Jackson's new Ravens deal includes $185M guaranteed
Source: Lamar Jackson's new Ravens deal includes $185M guaranteed

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – In a span of a month, quarterback Lamar Jackson went from wanting out of Baltimore to signing the largest deal in Ravens history.

Consider it another one of Jackson’s jaw-dropping spin moves.

After 27 months of challenging negotiations, Jackson reached a five-year deal with the Ravens on Thursday, the team announced.

The agreement is worth $260 million, a source told ESPN, making Jackson the highest-paid player in the league at $52 million per year. It includes $185 million in guaranteed money, the source said.

Sources previously said Jackson was seeking the $230 million in guaranteed money that Deshaun Watson got from the Cleveland Browns last year. Kyler Murray received $189.5 million guaranteed from the Cardinals as part of his five-year, $230.5 million extension.

“For the last few months, there has been a lot of he said, she said,” Jackson said in a video posted by the Ravens on their Twitter account. “A lot of nail-biting. A lot of head-scratching going on.”

Jackson then held up a football with a Ravens logo and said, “But for the next five years, it’s a lot of ‘flock’ going on.”

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Jackson, who represented himself in the negotiations, landed his deal 10 days after Jalen Hurts signed a five-year contract extension for $255 million, including $180 million guaranteed. The agreement also came shortly before the start of the NFL draft, when the Ravens could have selected a quarterback in the first round. Instead, they helped Jackson by taking Zay Flowers, the star receiver out of Boston College, at No. 22 overall, which elicited some positive reaction from Jackson on social media moments later.

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Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta wouldn’t say how much Hurts’ deal impacted the one with Jackson. He estimated that the Ravens have given Jackson five to six different proposals over the past couple of years.

“We do feel that he’s the best quarterback in the NFL,” DeCosta said, “and I think this contract reflects that.”

DeCosta acknowledged he had moments when he didn’t think a deal would get done with Jackson, but his appreciation for the QB never wavered. He did feel a weight lifted when Jackson agreed to a deal.

“I feel that way sometimes with family, things can get tough … and there was definitely some emotion,” DeCosta said. “But in the end, we’ve been blessed to have Lamar as part of this organization for a long time. I think he feels this place is special, too. And it was business; it wasn’t personal.”

Last month, the Ravens placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on Jackson, which allowed him to negotiate with other teams and gave Baltimore the right to match any offer sheet signed. But no teams publicly showed interest in him.

Still, it seemed like the sides were headed for a divorce March 27, when Jackson announced he had requested a trade just before coach John Harbaugh spoke to reporters at the NFL’s annual meeting. Jackson wrote on Twitter that the Ravens “had not been interested in meeting my value” in contract talks.

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“It was a very unusual, unique negotiation,” DeCosta said. “So it just took time. And hopefully, honestly I have to say I hope I never have to be a part of that type of negotiation again because of the time, because of the emotional aspect.”

Now, Jackson is in position to fulfill his draft day promise to the Ravens. It was five years and one day ago when Jackson proclaimed after being selected with the last pick of the first round: “They’re going to get a Super Bowl out of me, believe that.”

Jackson turned a franchise that had missed the playoffs for three straight seasons into a winner again. His career record of 45-16 (.738) is the fourth best of any starting quarterback to debut in the Super Bowl era.

In 2019, his first full season as a starter, Jackson became the second unanimous selection as NFL MVP. He led the NFL in touchdown passes (36) and set the league record for most rushing yards by a quarterback (1,206).

But Jackson’s performance has been mired by injuries and uneven play recently. Over the past two seasons, he threw for 33 touchdowns with 20 interceptions and missed a total of 11 games, including a 24-17 playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

All of the angst of the offseason suddenly changed on Tuesday night.

DeCosta, who is a big Celtics fan, was agonizing over Trae Young’s game-winning 3-point shot that lifted Atlanta over Boston in Game 5 when he got a text from Jackson.

“I think we can get a deal done,” Jackson wrote.

DeCosta replied: “Lamar, you just saved my night.”

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