It only makes sense that the Baltimore Ravens must sign or franchise tag quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Trading him is not an option.
There’s not enough talent on the Ravens right now, or even after the NFL draft, to begin replacing the offensive production Jackson represents. Of course, there’s also no finding another quarterback with his skill set. And to even think about letting him get away – regardless of how many draft picks Baltimore gets in return in a trade – means risking becoming the Washington Commanders or the Indianapolis Colts, i.e., teams in perpetual quarterback purgatory.
Sharp people in Maryland sports betting and Ravens fans know: The numbers issue is daunting. The Ravens have gotten Jackson for cheap since he was drafted. Jackson is the only first-round-pick quarterback to play under a fifth-year option since the rookie wage scale was implemented with the 2011 NFL collective bargaining agreement.
His total guaranteed money is $7.6 million.
The comparisons with other QBs are shocking, frankly. The most astounding was the deal that Cleveland gave Deshaun Watson, $230 million guaranteed. Patrick Mahomes, generally regarded as the NFL’s best quarterback in this moment, has $141.5 million guaranteed. Aaron Rodgers has $150.8 million guaranteed. Kyler Murray has a guarantee that makes general managers trying to sign their own QBs wince, $189.5 million.
Putting Jackson Deal with Comparable QBs
BetMaryland.com – your source for Maryland sports betting promos – utilized spotrac.com and statmuse.com to determine the QBR of all active “qualifying” NFL QBs since Lamar Jackson became a full-time starter in 2019 in relation to their total amount of guaranteed contract money. A qualifying condition was 35 starts since 2019.
Given those parameters, there were 19 quarterbacks in a universe of signal-callers with a QBR of 91.8 or greater. Of that group only three quarterbacks have guarantees of less than $10 million – Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts, who stands to cash in huge; Teddy Bridgewater, who fits most rosters as a solid backup and short-term starter; and, of course, Jackson, who was the spectacular 2019 NFL MVP.
In QBR, Jackson has an average 98.1, which places him 11th among the 19 quarterbacks measured. Rodgers was No. 1 with 104.7, followed by Mahomes at 104.1
Meanwhile, Rodgers is a four-time league MVP and a Super Bowl champion. Mahomes is a two-time MVP with two Vince Lombardi Trophies.
NFL QB Ratings Since 2019
While Jackson had a season for the ages in 2019 on his way to the MVP, there are two caution flags: He is 1-3 in the playoffs – where his performances have been mediocre, to put it kindly – and he has missed 10 games over the past two seasons with injuries (ankle in 2021 and knee in 2022) at critical times in those respective seasons.
If Baltimore puts the franchise tag on Jackson that some within the organization believe is most appropriate, which is the “exclusive” tag, he should earn about $45 million next season. The “non-exclusive” tag would pay him about $32 million but he could negotiate with other teams. Jackson is a rare NFL player who represents himself in contract matters.
However, no player in the NFL individually contributes as much to his team’s total offense as Jackson when he is healthy. Jackson has accounted for about 64% of the Ravens offense over five seasons. Before he got hurt last season, the Ravens had just won four out of five and were averaging 25 points a game. After the knee injury knocked out Jackson, the team managed to struggle into the playoffs but averaged just 13 points a game and were eliminated from the postseason by Cincinnati in a wild card game.
Certainly, Jackson should be making far more money than he has been and, most assuredly, he will. However, how the Ravens and Jackson get to the point where he earns what he deserves remains a huge question.
How Oddsmakers See Ravens
Maryland sports apps still see the Ravens as a major contender in 2023. That could change, of course, if the quarterback situation is not resolved.
The Ravens are the sixth choice of the NFL’s 32 teams at +1800 at BetMGM Maryland Sportsbook. The defending champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, are the favorite at +500.