Lamar Jackson’s Contract: Reasons Why He Destroyed A Huge Payday

Darren - March 30, 2023

Lamar Jackson’s Contract: Reasons Why He Destroyed A Huge Payday

Darren - March 30, 2023

Lamar Jackson is one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the NFL today. However, the former 2019 NFL MVP is in a weird position at the current moment because no team seems to want to meet his contract demands. The Ravens reportedly offered him a seven-year deal worth $250 million but he completely botched those extension negotiations.

So today we’ll look at the reasons why Jackson can’t secure the deal that he wants. We’ll look at the mistakes he made along the way and the reasons why owners don’t want to pay him. It may or may not be fair but this is the NFL and it’s a ruthless business. Check out how Jackson botched his contract extension right now.

Sky Sports

No Agent

One of the strangest things about Jackson’s negotiations is that he doesn’t have an agent. This is like going to court without a lawyer because nobody does it. Yes, it’s theoretically possible but it’s almost always better to have an expert who knows what they’re doing. Franchises don’t want to deal with Jackson directly because that’s not how the game works.


ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio believes that Jackson botched his extension by not using an agent. “Lamar, you need to hire an agent. Now,” Florio said (via NBC). “Hire an agent now to shepherd you through this process, to aggressively contact all the teams, to try to get someone to come up with an offer sheet that maybe the Ravens couldn’t or wouldn’t match.”


Issues With Pressure

According to Pro Football Focus, Jackson struggles when teams blitz him. His 45.7 passing grade under pressure was 20th in the league in 2023. Many analysts feel that this doesn’t reflect an elite quarterback’s level. Jackson’s pure passing has always been fodder for his detractors. They claim he’s a glorified running back and not an actual QB.


There’s no denying that Jackson is excellent when he has space to run and time to pass. But he’s been in the league for several years now and teams know what to expect. Many owners think that Jackson is too expensive to play this type of game for a sustained amount of years (via Sports Illustrated).


Non-Exclusive Tag

Jackson is only the sixth quarterback in history to receive the non-exclusive tag. The Ravens offered to make him the sixth-best-paid quarterback in the NFL but he said no. Then they shrugged and allowed him to play the field. The non-exclusive tag allows him to talk to other teams but Baltimore can match offers or receive two first-round picks (via CBS Sports).

Sky Sports

Matt Cassel is the only quarterback in modern history who left his franchise under the non-exclusive tag. The likes of Drew Brees and Jim Harbaugh agreed to new deals. Meanwhile, the most recent case was Kirk Cousins who played under the tag for two seasons before leaving as a free agent. Jackson botched his contract extension because nobody is going to pay him the monstrous guaranteed money he’s demanding on the open market.


Too Late

There’s a feeling that Jackson botched his extension by leaving the negotiations on the table until it was too late. In 2021, Josh Allen agreed to a deal with the Bills that made him one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league. Ravens fans won’t like this but Jackson should have met the team at the table at that point and demanded the same treatment (via Baltimore Ravens).


Allen and Jackson came from from the same draft class and have similar output. The Buffalo star even said that Jackson deserves a top contract but it may not happen. If he had an agent, Jackson could focus on his football without worrying about his interests. But now he doesn’t know where he’ll be after writing a goodbye letter to his fans.

Bleacher Report

Atlanta or Washington?

Another problem for Jackson is that he isn’t going to walk straight into a contender if he leaves Baltimore. Atlanta is the most likely destination and makes sense for the Falcons. Jackson could potentially be a hero in one of the few U.S. cities with an African-American majority. Meanwhile, the NFC South is a wasteland and he would instantly make them divisional favorites.

NBC Sports

Washington has Sam Howell under center but the sophomore has everything to prove. Neither of these teams is even close to there yet so there’s a feeling that Jackson has played himself into a corner. He botched his negotiations because if he leaves he’ll be taking a backward step instead of progressing his legacy (via ESPN).

Sports Illustrated

The Newton Prototype

Many people can’t understand why nobody appears to want Jackson. He’s a former MVP with incredible physical gifts and would elevate almost every team. However, there are fears that he will suffer a rapid decline if injuries take their toll. Cam Newton offers GMs a cautionary case study of how that can go wrong.

Sports Illustrated

The former MVP was brilliant at his peak for the Panthers but his body betrayed him. In the end, a Lisfranc injury finished his first spell with the Panthers. But there were many other injuries along the way that robbed him of his dynamism. Analysts worry that if Jackson loses his explosive pace, he’ll be very average (via

Scheme Problems

Jackson offers a unique threat as one of the best rushing quarterbacks in the league. However, his biggest strength may also play against him because there aren’t many players with his skills. First, teams would have to completely change their scheme to suit his needs. It’s not like slotting Tom Brady into the Bucs or Aaron Rodgers into the Jets.

Bleacher Report

Meanwhile, Jackson’s recent injury record brings cause for concern. Imagine if a franchise builds a team around his attributes and he suffers a long-term problem. They also need a backup that can handle the same scheme and this may be impossible. Jackson is excellent but he may have already ruined his next move (via Baltimore Ravens).

Independent Tribune

The MVP Curse

Jackson won the MVP award after an incredible 2019 season. This was undoubtedly the highlight of his career so far but it is also a bit of a curse. First, everybody compares the following seasons to his breakout year. The problem is that he hasn’t lived up to the same standards since then (via The Guardian).


A 2018 MVP award doesn’t mean much in 2023 but Jackson doesn’t see it this way. He thinks that it’s proof that he’s elite and will get better because he’s entering his prime. But he inadvertently screwed his negotiations because his injury record isn’t great. That’s out of his control to a degree but it’s not helping him either.



One of the worst criticisms about Jackson is that he’s an average passer. Critics say that he’s a glorified running back and weak in the pocket. This is a lazy perspective because it’s not true. Jackson’s lowest completion percentage was 62% while he’s never had a passer rating below 87. The statistics show that he usually plays at a very high level.

Unfortunately, the narrative swung against Jackson so he’s swimming against the tide. If he had an agent, perhaps they could turn it back in his favor but the league appears to be united against him. Once again, it’s not entirely his fault but it’s one reason why he has botched his extension negotiations (via Jet X).


The Huntley Factor

The Ravens have another reason why they aren’t bowing to Jackson’s wishes. They have a young backup quarterback on their roster named Tyler Huntley. Some fans will remember him as the man who was responsible for a 99-yard touchdown return after a costly fumble. But he also made the Pro Bowl after a solid season and improved his status.

Baltimore Ravens

If Jackson leaves, they’ll have two first-round picks and this will give them options. They could start Huntley, who has potential, and provide him with the weapons to improve. Another option is to trade up for a first-round QB to replace their star. Overall, Baltimore holds more cards than Jackson at the moment (via Fansided).

The Sports Rush

Mahomes Money

Everybody wants the Mahomes’ money now but they don’t realize something crucial. Patrick Mahomes is a unique athlete and has arguably become the face of the NFL after Tom Brady’s retirement. The two-time Super Bowl winner has placed himself in a special position and the Chiefs know his commercial value (via CBS Sports).


Jackson doesn’t offer the same to the Ravens because he isn’t synonymous with success in the city. There’s an argument that he would become a superstar in the vein of Michael Vick in Atlanta. But that remains to be seen and they don’t want to pay him what he wants. Jackson’s inability to meet GMs in the middle means he finds himself without a suitor after he overplayed his hand.

Fox News

Strong Draft Class

There’s another reason that makes people think that Jackson overplayed his hand. The 2023 quarterback class is superior to the previous year with some exciting prospects. It feels like Jackson botched his contract by waiting an extra year. Bryce Young was outstanding for the Alabama Crimson Tide while many believe that C.J. Stroud has the composure to make it as an NFL starter.


Meanwhile, there are two other exciting names in Will Levis and Anthony Richardson. It remains to be seen if Baltimore could get their hands on any of these men. But the reality is that other quarterback-needy teams are looking at the Draft instead of at Jackson. The Jets want Aaron Rodgers but they’re not considering Jackson (via Pro Football Network).


Limited Options

It’s an unfortunate reality for Jackson that he has limited options. Many experts think that he’ll stay in Baltimore despite trying to force a trade. This could make it awkward between him and the fans if he doesn’t leave. The problem is that there aren’t many teams that can afford him or need him (via Sporting News).

Las Vegas Review-Journal

We’ve already mentioned how the 2023 Draft Class is superior to last year’s group. This is more attractive to quarterback-needy teams than paying for an injury-prone superstar. Meanwhile, the Saints moved early by swooping for Derek Carr while the Jets are all-in on Aaron Rodgers. Now it seems that Jackson is the odd man out.

Rolling Stone

Ravens Bluff

Some critics think that the Ravens are gambling with their future by opting for the non-exclusive franchise tag. They think that they’ve disrespected Jackson who deserves better from the team. Meanwhile, there are worries about their future if the quarterback leaves. It’s not easy to replace an MVP with one of the most unique styles in the sport.


But the other side of the argument is that the Ravens played this brilliantly. They’ve forced Jackson’s hand but nobody appears to want him. If somebody decides to pay, they’ll receive two first-round picks and rebuild the roster. But otherwise, they’ll keep Jackson and life will go on. Jackson botched his plans by demanding too much from the team (via Mirror).

Lamar Jackson


There’s no denying that Jackson rubs some people up the wrong way with his playing style. Several coaches think that he doesn’t show enough consistency. It’s true that the Baltimore star goes through cold periods and is questionable in the clutch. Some think he ruined his big payday by failing to deliver since his MVP year (via Sports Illustrated).

Baltimore Ravens

One anonymous defensive coordinator spoke to The Athletic about the QB. He said: “So many games come down to two-minute, and that is why they have a hard time advancing even when they are good on defense. Playoffs are tight. You have to be able to throw the ball, and he is just so inconsistent throwing the ball. It is hit or miss.”


No Leverage

Jackson has no leverage and this is a key reason why he botched his extension. Yes, he requested a trade but this doesn’t mean anything unless anybody wants him. Unfortunately for the player, the only sound he hears outside his door is a chorus of cicadas. Even if a team approaches him, Baltimore can match their offer.


One NFL personnel director told The Ringer: “A trade request to me is insignificant. If or when a team wants you, they can come to get you, but the Ravens still can match. It doesn’t change anything.” Unfortunately, Jackson is stuck in no man’s land and risks turning the fanbase against him. That would place even more power in the Ravens’ hands.

New York Times

League Collusion

Many people think that NFL owners are engaging in collusion regarding the Jackson situation. This serious accusation would lead to consequences if there was evidence. Some analysts think that they’re showing common sense and a united front against overpaying players. But not everybody agrees with this and some players spoke out in Jackson’s defense.


J.J. Watt was one vocal critic, as was Jackson’s former teammate, Robert Griffin III. “Lamar Jackson is a Unanimous MVP, has led the NFL in passing touchdowns, is 26 years old, is 45-16 as a starter and all the QB needy teams are saying they aren’t interested,” Griffin said (via New York Post). “Don’t smell right to me.”


Injury Issues

Jackson’s wear-and-tear style of play has derailed his extension negotiations. He’s endured five injuries throughout his five years in Baltimore and this is a problem. Klaxons are blaring and red warning lights are flashing around the NFL because teams fear he will suffer a rapid decline.

Baltimore Ravens

In 2022 he suffered a sprained PCL and missed six games. Meanwhile, there were also ankle and patella injuries at different points. Jackson’s speed and mobility set him apart from many of his rivals. However, quarterback-needy teams worry that he’ll miss too many games and they won’t receive value for money (via Sportskeeda).


The Watson Effect

There’s no pretending that Deshaun Watson’s fully-guaranteed contract with Cleveland isn’t affecting Jackson. Cleveland overpaid for the former Houston star and rival NFL franchises sat up. They never want to see this happen again and Jackson is paying the price. But he botched his extension because he refuses to accept this.

Sky Sports

Jackson wants a fully-guaranteed contract in the same mold as Watson’s. However, Baltimore shook its head and said that it was not happening. Remember, Patrick Mahomes is only receiving $68 million in guaranteed money from his $500 million deal. Cleveland’s desperation may have cost him a fortune (via Fox Sports).

Sky Sports

Stylistic Distrust

Yes, it’s grossly unfair but Jackson can’t shake off one unfortunate reality. Many NFL owners don’t trust his style. They want a better passer in the mold of a Patrick Mahomes or Justin Herbert. They feel that Jackson doesn’t tick enough boxes to be one of the league’s highest-paid players (via Bleacher Report).

This may seem laughable because his peers say that he’s one of the most exciting and unique talents in the NFL. Mahomes even said that some people hold black quarterbacks to unrealistic standards because of their skin color. There’s a theory that this has also affected Jackson’s negotiations.