What Deshaun Watson’s Shocking Contract Means for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens

The Cleveland Browns were desperate to answer their puzzling quarterback question in the offseason. Instead of committing to Baker Mayfield, they went all-in on Deshaun Watson. The massive, fully guaranteed contract could ultimately have a drastic impact on Lamar Jackson‘s contract negotiations with the Baltimore Ravens.

The former MVP hasn’t appeared to be in any rush to strike a new deal even though he’s heading into the final year of his rookie contract. The Ravens’ front office is on record saying it’s ready to talk whenever Jackson is. Perhaps, this recent development could push the two sides to get a deal done sooner rather than later.

The Browns’ Deshaun Watson contract was an unprecedented move

The Cleveland Browns pulled off the boldest move of the offseason. Not only did they acquire Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans, but they also paid him handsomely. The three-time Pro Bowler inked a new five-year, $260 million contract in fully guaranteed money.

The deal was shocking, especially considering Watson’s current legal situation. His status for the 2022 season is still up in the air. Yet, the front office felt comfortable awarding him with a lucrative contract.

Fully guaranteed contracts in the NFL aren’t really a thing, especially for a quarterback who has 22 civil cases pending against him. The situation still needs a resolution, and it’s unclear how many games Watson will play in 2022 if any at all.

Still, the historic contract could affect future negotiations for quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens and Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals.

Ravens owner opens up on the implications of the Watson contract

Many people were stunned to learn that the Browns were giving Deshaun Watson $230 million, fully guaranteed. According to NBC Sports columnist Peter King, owners around the NFL were unhappy with Cleveland giving Watson that much money and making him the player to shift the quarterback market.

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti recently sounded off on the massive contract, and he’s admittedly not a fan of it.

“I’m trying to answer that when I had a reaction to it,” Bisciotti said per ESPN‘s Jamison Hensley. “And it’s like, ‘Damn, I wish they hadn’t guaranteed the whole contract. I don’t know that he should’ve been the first guy to get a fully guaranteed contract. To me, that’s something that is groundbreaking, and it’ll make negotiations harder with others.”

The longtime owner acknowledges that the team will need to pay Lamar Jackson at some point. The former MVP is reportedly stalling negotiations. His reasons are unknown, but Bisciotti and general manager Eric DeCosta are on record saying they’re willing to play ball once the time comes.

Why the deal benefits Lamar Jackson

Browns QB Deshaun Watson in action for the Texans; Ravens QB Lamar Jackson smiles during a game
Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans looks on during game against the Titans | Carmen Mandato/Getty Images; Lamar Jackson of the Ravens reacts while facing the Broncos | Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

There’s no denying how good of a football player Deshaun Watson is. When he’s on the field, he’s undoubtedly a top-10 quarterback with potentially top-five upside. However, the uncertainty with his off-field situation should’ve been enough cause for pause for the Browns brass.

Cleveland made Watson the first signal-caller to get a fully guaranteed contract. He missed the entire 2021 season and could miss more time in 2022. Now, a quarterback like Lamar Jackson must be looking at this development as a prime opportunity.

The Louisville product is a former MVP (2019). He has racked up 9,967 passing yards, 3,673 rushing yards, and 105 total touchdowns in 58 games. Jackson has posted an impressive 37-12 record as a starter. His dual-threat ability makes him a dangerous threat that opponents lose sleep trying to stop. Above all else, he’s a high-character guy and a leader.

When Lamar Jackson lets the Ravens know he’s ready to talk, they’ll have to play ball. The entire organization understands his value. He deserves a contract of equal or greater value than the one Watson got. That’s the name of the game, and Jackson stands to benefit from the Browns’ risky gamble.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

RELATED: Peter King Reveals NFL Teams Are Displeased With Deshaun Watson’s Massive Contract From Browns