A recent video emerged of Baltimore Ravens franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson doing some one-on-one receiver drills on a basketball court, playing the role of wide receiver and defensive back. It looked like he was just having some fun out there, but it didn’t take long for the concern bells to chime.
ProFootballTalk‘s Mike Florio was the loudest voice criticizing Jackson for taking an “unnecessary risk” by doing these drills, especially on a blacktop. He raised the issue of Jackson’s ongoing contract negotiations. He’s entering his fourth NFL season in 2021, but has not come to an agreement on the mega-deal that he’s widely expected to sign before the fifth-year option season in 2022.
“If Lamar Jackson currently had a good agent, Lamar would be receiving a phone call with a very clear and direct message: Stop playing defensive back or receiver on an asphalt basketball court,” he wrote. “This isn’t hard, and it shouldn’t be controversial. No player closing in on $40 million or so per year should be taking these risks just for kicks.”
Plenty have taken issue with Florio harping on the fact that Jackson chooses to negotiate on his own behalf, rather than employ an agent. Some of Jackson’s current and former Ravens teammates are sticking up for him as well.
They always thirsty don’t pay them no mind
— Mark Ingram II (@markingramII) July 12, 2021
— 🦅 (@Patrickqueen_) July 12, 2021
👎🏽👎🏽 U weak,find sum better 2talk about https://t.co/bREPJElEwC
— Justin Madubuike (@Madabeeks) July 13, 2021
Right now, Lamar Jackson is set to make just over $3 million this year and $23 million in 2022, if no long term deal is signed. Spotrac pegs his market value at four-years, $171.1 million, which would slide him ahead of Dak Prescott for the second-most annual money in the league, behind Patrick Mahomes.
Jackson is still just 24 years old. He won the league’s MVP award in 2019, when he threw for 3,127 yards and rushed for another 1,206, adding a league-high 36 passing touchdowns and seven scores on the ground. His numbers dwindled a bit in 2020, though he was still the most effective dual-threat weapon in the league. The Baltimore Ravens have focused on beefing up his receiving corps to try and help him along this year.
Everyone has said that a deal is coming at some point. So far, it is unclear when that may be, and if it will come before his fourth season opens.