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Both the Baltimore Ravens organization and its superstar quarterback vowed before the season not to let the Lamar Jackson contract situation become a distraction this year. And, for the most part, it hasn’t until recently. On the eve of the Ravens’ playoff game against its AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals, it looks like the team’s leader and best player will sit the game out in favor of backup Tyler Huntley. And, frankly, Jackson should sit out as $250 million or more hangs in the balance.

The Lamar Jackson contract situation 

Lamar Jackson contract, Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens, Ravens playoffs
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson | Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire

With the 2023 Ravens playoff opener just days away, Lamar Jackson missed yet another practice on Wednesday, 38 days after he sprained the PCL ligament in his knee. And with the game against the Bengals on Saturday, it looks like he’ll miss his sixth straight game.

While there are real medical reasons Jackson isn’t ready to come back yet, there are also serious Lamar Jackson contract reasons. 

Jackson came into the season playing on the fifth and final year of his rookie deal. While his Class of 2018 counterpart Josh Allen and even 2019 No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray have already signed massive extensions, Jackson has not.

This season, Jackson’s fifth-year option salary was $23,016,000. As of a few days after the Super Bowl, Jackson will become an unrestricted free agent.

The Ravens could franchise the QB, but right now, the two parties seem to be at a major impasse.

Jackson, who acts as his own agent with the help of his mother, reportedly wants north of the $230 million fully guaranteed deal that the Cleveland Browns gave embattled QB Deshaun Watson when they traded for him this offseason.

Baltimore is saying that the Watson contract is an outlier, which it is. The Browns gave more than $100 million more in guarantees to their QB than the next-highest signal-caller contract, which is Russell Wilson, with $124 million guaranteed.

On the Ravens’ QB’s side, where there isn’t an agent to reason with, the signal-caller seems to be digging in his heels for that number in the next Lamar Jackson contract.

Why Jackson shouldn’t play in the Ravens playoff game


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There are two schools of thought when it comes to the Lamar Jackson contract and the upcoming Ravens playoff game.

The first is that Jackson has something to prove and needs to make a mark on the playoffs before getting a big deal. There is something to this, as the QB is an incredible 45-16 in the regular season yet is 1-3 in his three playoff appearances.

Another piece of this argument is that Jackson also has to prove his health or his toughness by coming back from this injury to play in these decisive games coming up.

Both these arguments fall down when you realize that if the quarterback did hit the open market, at least a half-dozen teams would line up to give out a Lamar Jackson contract with $250 million guaranteed over five or six years. That won’t happen anytime soon because the Ravens will franchise tag or trade him before it does. But Jackson knows that he can get that money somewhere.

The only thing that could cost the QB a massive Lamar Jackson contract extension now is a massive injury that saps his explosiveness and athleticism.

That’s why Jackson has 250 million reasons to sit out the Ravens’ playoff game against the Bengals, and that’s no one’s fault but the Ravens for letting it get this far with their MVP quarterback.