We can file this one under the “obvious” category. During an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh “guaranteed” that the team would pick up Lamar Jackson‘s fifth-year option (via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter).
Teams have until May 3 to pick up options on 2018 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. Considering Jackson’s accolades, we all probably could have guaranteed that this transaction was was going to happen. For those wondering, Harbaugh said that there’s “nothing to the fact” that the two sides have waited to make the move.
Jackson, the final pick of that 2018 first round, has a fifth-year option that’s valued at $23.106M (fully guaranteed).
The real question is if the Ravens and Jackson can somehow agree to an extension before the May 3 deadline. We heard earlier this month that the two sides had started negotiations, and while both teams seem receptive to a long-term pact, it could take some time to agree to terms. As our own Zach Links pointed out, quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, and Carson Wentz all opted for security ahead of their fourth-year rookie contracts and earned sizable paydays; it wouldn’t be shocking if Jackson inevitably takes the same route. Previous reports indicated that the former MVP was seeking a contract similar to Deshaun Watson‘s four-year, $156M deal.
Jackson followed up his 2019 MVP campaign with another standout season in 2020. He led the Ravens to an 11-4 record in 15 starts, connecting on 64.4-percent of his passes for 2,757 yards, 26 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He also added another 1,005 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.