Less than a week before the season opener, quarterback Lamar Jackson was throwing passes on the practice field Monday for the Baltimore Ravens, showing once again that he’s focused on playing for the Ravens this season despite no contract extension.
After Monday’s practice, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked whether there’s ever been a discussion that Jackson would hold out and not play this season without a new deal.
“No,” Harbaugh said before adding, “Lamar has said he’s focused on the season, he’s under contract and he’s going to have the best season he can have. He’s hopeful to get a new contract and we’re hopeful to get him a new contract. All the rest of it is business. There is nothing other than coming to something that is mutually agreeable.”
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Jackson missed the voluntary workouts this spring for the first time in his five-year career, but the former NFL MVP reported on time for training camp and didn’t miss a practice all summer.
Harbaugh is unaware whether talks between the Ravens and Jackson have been suspended. Last month, Jackson said Week 1 would be the cutoff point in negotiations until the end of the regular season.
“I don’t have any updates,” Harbaugh said. “My interactions with Lamar have been all football. He’s been focused and locked in on that, 100 percent, from a football standpoint.”
Jackson is one of the few players in the NFL without an agent and represents himself. He is expected to talk to reporters on Wednesday.
Neither Jackson nor Ravens officials have ever hinted at any animosity in negotiations, which is why Harbaugh said you don’t hear about “conflicting reports.”
“He’s hopeful to get a new contract; we’re hopeful to get him a new contract,” Harbaugh said. “But all the rest of it is business. There’s nothing other than coming to something that’s mutually agreeable. That’s the way that all of these deals are done. So, obviously, I’m very hopeful, and I know everyone is really hopeful to get it done.”
In March, Deshaun Watson reset the quarterback market when he signed a record-setting five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract. Shortly afterward, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti acknowledged that Watson’s deal complicates future negotiations with quarterbacks.
The two franchise quarterbacks who have most recently signed deals since — Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson — both received less guaranteed money than Watson. Murray received $189.5 million guaranteed in July, and Wilson got $165 million guaranteed on Thursday.
Jackson is playing on his fifth-year option, which will pay him $23.016 million this season. If the sides can’t reach a new deal by next March, Baltimore would have to put the franchise tag on Jackson to keep him from becoming a free agent. Jackson would receive $45 million under the exclusive tag.
“Being around him here and also being beside him in the locker room, he’s calm, cool and collected,” offensive tackle Morgan Moses said about how Jackson has handled the contract talks. “It’s no better feeling than to see your quarterback comes out every day and is willing to work.”
With Jackson, the Ravens have high expectations entering the season. Outside linebacker Justin Houston even guaranteed a Super Bowl victory.
“I’m a big believer the power of the tongue speak life and death,” said Houston, who is beginning his 12th NFL season. “So, we’re going to get that ring this year. I’m tired of hoping and wishing we’re gong to get it. I’m going to speak it into existence.”
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