No matter occurs with Lamar Jackson’s contract, don’t blame it on him not having an agent, particularly after Roquan Smith’s new deal.
Lamar Jackson has been a Baltimore Raven for 5 seasons whereas Roquan Smith has been one for 2 months. The 2019 NFL MVP had each motive to be upset with the information that broke on Tuesday, however as an alternative, he selected to be a supportive teammate.
After it was introduced that the Ravens made Smith the highest-paid off-ball linebacker within the NFL, Jackson shouted him out on Twitter. Since Smith was traded to the Ravens in early November, the Ravens’ gamers have nicknamed the 25-year-old “Uncle Ro.” So Jackson made certain to provide “Unc” his props for getting the entire cash that he wished.
The Ravens gave Smith cash that the Chicago Bears — the staff that drafted him with an eighth-overall decide — weren’t prepared to pay. The Bears have been reducing salaries since Ryan (No. 2) Poles took over as basic supervisor from Ryan Tempo. He jettisoned many of the Bears’ costly contracts and is at present trying to get by way of a tough reset as quick as attainable.
In Jackson’s quest for a brand new contract, a criticism that has been levied in opposition to him is that he’s his personal agent. The Ravens even tried to place the onus of the negotiation struggles on him final spring, when General Manager Eric DeCosta stated on the scouting mix, “We’ll work at Lamar’s urgency.”
Nicely, Smith represents himself, and he has by no means even attended a Ravens coaching camp, however the franchise nonetheless made him the highest-paid participant at his place days earlier than a playoff sport. All of the whereas the Ravens nonetheless have holes on their roster to fill at go rusher and extensive receiver.
The Ravens’ finest offensive participant — by far — within the 27-year historical past of the franchise desires to be paid like the highest gamers at his place. If Jackson’s need is to obtain the $200-plus million totally assured contract that the Cleveland Browns foolishly gave Deshaun Watson, the Ravens could be sensible to not provide him that. Simply because the Browns did one thing silly, doesn’t imply that they should comply with swimsuit.
Nevertheless, because the Ravens are going to completely assure an inside linebacker $45 million, the reported $133 million assured at signing was reported to be their finest provide to Jackson is now particularly weak. It was weak earlier than Smith was on the staff, and now it’s laughable. The Arizona Cardinals assured Kyler Murray $160 million after they inked him to an extension earlier than the beginning of this season and that franchise is a trainwreck. Jackson has made the playoffs in three of his 4 NFL seasons to go together with that MVP. A late-season harm has prevented him from enjoying late in a second-consecutive common season, however not like in 2021, the Ravens are within the playoffs.
The commerce for Smith value the Ravens two draft picks, but additionally stuffed a necessity. Per DVOA, the Ravens have been the third-best protection within the NFL since he has been on their roster. But nonetheless, with out Jackson, not solely is the Smith signing a nasty funding, however the staff dangers changing into as dangerous because it was when it first moved from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996.
The unique Cleveland Browns at present have their finest beginning quarterback since Otto Graham. Jackson is without doubt one of the most unusual abilities to ever enter the NFL, and he selected to play this season with out the long-term extension that almost all of his friends have acquired.
He’s enjoying good, however the Ravens made a participant — who has not but participated in a playoff sport in that franchise’s uniform — the best paid at his place. In addition to Jackson dealt with the scenario yesterday, if the best Raven offensive participant ever leaves the franchise, they solely have themselves responsible for the shortage of respect that they’ve proven.