Lamar Jackson Gets a $56 Million Gift From the Baltimore Ravens, but It’s Not His New Contract Extension
The Baltimore Ravens just invested $56 million in their franchise quarterback’s long-term future with the organization. While Lamar Jackson must be excited that the Ravens locked down one of his favorite targets, it still isn’t the contract extension that the former NFL MVP is looking for. That will come when the Ravens pony up and give Jackson his well-deserved — likely massive — new deal.
Mark Andrews is one of the NFL’s most underrated tight ends
The Ravens took Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews with the 86th pick in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In his three seasons in Baltimore, Andrews has developed into one of the best — yet still underrated — TEs in the NFL.
While developing a special connection with the QB drafted 50 slots ahead of him, Andrews has caught 156 balls on 236 targets for 2,105 yards and 20 touchdowns. He led the team in receptions in 2019 (64) and tied wide receiver Marquise Brown for the lead in 2020 (58) despite missing two games.
While he is not quite on the level of Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Rob Gronkowski, or even Darren Waller in the last three seasons, Andrews is solidly near the top of the second-tier of top TEs. He leads a group that has consisted of names like Evan Engram, Eric Ebron, Hunter Henry, and T.J. Hockenson.
He’s been especially valuable to Jackson and the Ravens in the red zone, where he’s been in the top 25 in the league in targets the last two seasons.
At just 26 years old, Andrews should be a major force at the position for years to come.
The Baltimore Ravens gave Andrews got a $56 million contract extension
Mark Andrews only turned 26 on September 6, 2021. That day, the Ravens gave him the best birthday present possible, inking him to a four-year, $56 million deal with $37.6 million guaranteed.
With an annual average salary of $14 million, Andrews is now the third-highest player at his position, behind only George Kittle ($15M) and Travis Kelce ($14.3M). Also, since his contract runs longer (for now) than either of these marquee names, Andrews is currently slated to make the most money at the position over the next four seasons.
Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta explained the characteristics Andrews has that made a long-term deal attractive and wished him a happy birthday in the process, per ESPN:
Mark is exactly the type of player we wish to keep as a Raven long-term. He’s competitive, passionate, talented, and a leader. We are so excited to have him in Baltimore for the next five years. Congratulations to Mark and his family — and happy birthday.Eric DeCosta on Mark Andrews’ contract extension
Now that Baltimore has wrapped up one of its biggest hits from the 2018 draft, it’s time for the organization to focus on the big prize.
Lamar Jackson is looking for a $250 million-plus contract extension
Lamar Jackson, the No. 32 overall pick of the 2018 draft out of Louisville, quickly became one of the biggest stars in the NFL. He led Baltimore to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons and won the 2019 NFL MVP Award.
Now in the last season of his initial rookie contract, Jackson is around the 400th highest-paid player in the NFL. His fifth-year option in 2022 will vault him up that list, paying him $23 million for the season, but he’s got a lot more coming.
In early August, fellow Class of 2018 draftee Josh Allen signed a historic six-year, $258 million extension with the Buffalo Bills. That contract, with its $150 million in guaranteed money, puts Allen just above Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes ($141.5 million guaranteed) for most guaranteed cash ever.
Allen had a much better and more productive 2020 season than Jackson, but the Ravens’ signal-caller has put together a more impressive body of work overall so far.
The interesting thing to watch as Jackson goes for his bag is that he doesn’t have a traditional agent. He’s negotiating with the help of his financial manager, who also happens to be his mom.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference