However, the Ravens would then be afforded the opportunity to match. Teams can offer Jackson a contract when the new NFL year begins on Wednesday. As I wrote previously, there's no way that none of the 31 other teams in the NFL is interested in a former league MVP at 26 years old.
On Tuesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter released a report -- likely provided by the Ravens -- that Jackson turned down $200 million in guaranteed money for the team.
Of course, that sounded a bit suspect. Sure, Deshaun Watson got $230 million guaranteed, but Jackson likely accepts a deal that assures him $200 million.
Sure enough, Jackson himself took to Twitter to dispute the report.
According to Baltimore Beatdown, the website whose tweet Jackson quoted, Schefter made those comments on his podcast.
“Chris Mortensen and I reported on this last September, when Lamar Jackson was offered a deal that he turned down. A deal that included at the time he was offered $133 million due at signing,” Schefter said on The Adam Schefter Podcast, according to Baltimore Beatdown.
“$133 million guaranteed. The contract also had injury guarantees that brought the guarantees to $175 million. It then had a springing guarantee that could’ve brought the value for the contract, the guaranteed money of the contract to $200 million in guarantees... and yes, those were the actual numbers and that was the situation. So those really were the guarantees for Lamar Jackson.”
Lamar Jackson questions Adam Schefter's reporting
So it seems we have a bit of a semantics quibble here. Schefter says that contract provided $133 million on the day it would be signed. Then, there were other "guarantees" in the contract that would raise the value higher.
Jackson contends that the $133 million is the only money guaranteed. He also says that contract offer was for three years. Reminder that Jackson doesn't have an agent negotiating on his behalf.
That actually sounds reasonably fair. It makes a lot of sense for the Ravens. A three-year contract takes Lamar Jackson to age 29. Right about when you'd expect some of the wear-and-tear to start hitting and athleticism waning.
It actually makes sense for Jackson, too. If he is the great quarterback that he -- and his many defenders -- claim, then after three years he can come back to the table -- presumably after he's won three more MVPs and at least two Super Bowls -- and demand even MORE money.
However, I suspect Jackson understands that his NFL window isn't nearly as large as people want to believe. Deshaun Watson signed a five-year, $230 million fully-guaranteed deal with the Browns.
That equates to $46 million per season. Jackson's offer from the Ravens was for $133 million (guaranteed) over three years (plus the other incentives and possible guarantees, depending on who you believe) which equates to $44.3 million per season.
It's slightly less than Deshaun Watson, probably why Jackson turned it down. And, the guaranteed money is way less, according to Jackson. Though, Schefter insists there were other ways for the money to be guaranteed.
It's a bit of a "he said, he said" that's playing out in the town square.
It's funny, though, that Jackson so comfortably airs his laundry out in the public. That's likely not helping his case for a record-breaking contract.
But what do I know, I'm not an agent.
Though, neither is Lamar Jackson.