Lamar Jackson has quickly ascended to become one of the game’s top talents. The Baltimore Ravens star quarterback has elevated the franchise into one of the league’s top teams. As Jackson prepares for his fourth year, he’s readying to make one significant change.
Lamar Jackson’s steady rise to NFL stardom
Since taking over as the Ravens’ starting quarterback, Jackson has become one of the league’s best talents.
Jackson’s remarkable rise featured a historic 2019 campaign that earned him the regular-season MVP award. He became the third-youngest player to accomplish that feat after setting the single-season quarterback rushing yard mark with 1,206 yards. He also recorded highly efficient numbers throwing the ball with 36 touchdown passes, finished first with an 81.9 quarterback rating, and held a 113.3 passer rating.
Beyond that, the Ravens have become a playoff constant in the last three seasons with a pair of AFC North division titles and a wild-card berth. Before Jackson heads into his fourth campaign, the star quarterback is preparing to undergo another notable change.
Lamar Jackson’s strategic change for the 2021 season will only benefit the Ravens offense
Through Jackson‘s first three NFL seasons, he found tremendous success working solely out of the pistol formation in the Ravens’ offense.
However, the formula will change a bit in 2021 as offensive coordinator Greg Roman voiced Wednesday that the 24-year-old will work more under center.
“That is definitely going to be a part of what we do this year — the percentage of which I cannot state at this point,” Roman said via Jamison Hensley of ESPN. “I don’t know the extent of it. But we are working on it and evaluating it every day.”
Roman added that it would be a substantial part of the equation in the 2021 season. Since Jackson became the Ravens’ starting quarterback, he has the fewest snaps under center (127) among quarterbacks with at least 10 starts. In the 2020 season, he played only 4% of his snaps from that spot.
It’s another element that Jackson has yet to utilize as it can keep opposing defenses guessing the play call. The change in play formation will require him to be a more significant factor throwing the ball in drop-back situations.
Jackson continues to develop as a passer, adding to the elite rushing ability that has kept the Ravens a dominant force in the running game. Baltimore led the league with 191.9 rushing yards per contest last year, marking the second straight season heading that category.
Beyond that, it’s another step forward in Jackson’s maturation as a quarterback.
Baltimore prepared to work out a long-term deal
The Ravens’ focus continues to shift toward the 2021 season, but the lingering cloud concerning Jackson‘s contractual standing remains overhead.
The Pro Bowler is under contract through the 2022 season after the team exercised his $23 million fifth-year option. The two sides hold significant interest in working out a long-term extension that will keep the former league MVP in Baltimore for many years ahead.
The expectation is that Jackson’s next deal will make him one of the highest-paid players in NFL history. The extension will likely see him earn an annual salary between Dak Prescott’s $40 million and Patrick Mahomes’ $45 million per season.
It may be a matter of how much the Ravens are willing to shell out to keep Jackson. He has more than proved himself a franchise quarterback behind his sustained success.
The front office remains quiet about the situation, which may work itself out before next season. Only time will tell how and when Jackson finally receives the lucrative contract he deserves.