Lamar Jackson Gets a Redshirt Year? Don’t Be So Sure, Says Daniel Jeremiah
Most people believe first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson will spend his rookie year developing behind starting quarterback Joe Flacco for what would amount to a redshirt year in 2018.
Just don’t count NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who was a former Ravens scout and was among the first to predict Baltimore would select a first-round signal caller, among those who hold the prevailing belief.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if we did see [Jackson] starting at some point in time this year. I really wouldn’t,” Jeremiah told “The Lounge” podcast this week. “I know that’s not the popular opinion.
“We’ll see how long it takes before they kick this thing off and make that transition to Lamar Jackson. But I just think so many people have said, ‘Redshirt year, redshirt year’ and I’m not so sure of that.”
Barring an unexpected move like a trade or injury to Jackson, there’s no doubt he’ll take over the starting role at some point. History suggests waiting is not a bad idea, however, for even longer than one year.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, only three of the 56 first-round quarterbacks over the last two decades didn’t start their first two seasons: Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Chad Pennington. Rivers and Rodgers have 13 Pro Bowls between them, and Pennington started six NFL seasons.
Jeremiah understands it will take time for Jackson to develop and fit into what the Ravens are doing, but he said the major factor is more about the Ravens evolving and changing to what Jackson does best.
That evolution may take us back to an old-school Baltimore look, but with a twist.
The Ravens largely won Super Bowl XLVII with a passing attack led by an exceptionally hot Flacco. Prior to that, Baltimore was a run-heavy team that played great defense and limited its passing game.
Jeremiah says drafting Jackson is a signal that Baltimore may go back to that style, but with the quarterback getting more involved in the rushing attack. You won’t see a running back like Jamal Lewis break off 2,000 yards, but Jackson could get a decent-sized chunk of that with the rest of the backfield contributing too.
“I don’t [have any question that Jackson is a franchise quarterback], I just think it’s going to be in a different way than what we traditionally view the franchise quarterback,” Jeremiah said. “I think you can see the quarterback get more involved in the run game, and they can control the clock, control the ball and then play great defense and win those types of games. So, that to me is where I see this thing headed.”
In addition to Jackson’s development and the Ravens evolving their game around him, one of the biggest factors that will decide the rookie’s fate is Flacco.
“How fast is that clock ticking for Flacco?” asked ESPN. “It depends on Flacco's play this season and Jackson's development. Flacco could be the next Alex Smith who starts for another season and then gets traded. There's a chance Jackson sits for two years and waits to step into the starting role in 2020.”
If the Ravens were to part ways with Flacco after this season, they would gain $10.5 million in cap space or $18.5 million if Flacco is released or traded after June 1.
If he remains the starter in 2020, his $18.5 million base salary likely won’t count among the top-10 paid quarterbacks (see below for more). Cutting ties after two years allows Baltimore to gain $20.2 million in cap space. Strictly speaking in cap terms, Flacco starting another two years would be the best-case scenario.
The Ravens are doing everything they can to help Flacco return to form. The entire offseason has been about rebuilding his arsenal of weapons. The wide receiver group underwent a complete renovation in free agency, and General Manager Ozzie Newsome drafted two receivers, two pass-catching tight ends and potential new starting right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. Jr.
Add the new targets to Flacco’s improved health after suffering a herniated disc last year, and the 11-year veteran has real shot at a resurgent season.
“Hopefully Joe Flacco bounces back with all the added help that you have here, but if he gets to a slow start at some point in time that’s going to be really tempting to put Lamar out there,” Jeremiah said.
Cha-Ching! Matt Ryan Gets Record-Breaking Deal; Joe Flacco Drops to Ninth-Highest Paid QB
While Flacco will compete against Jackson this year, another 2008 first-round quarterback is cashing in.
The Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan is the latest to benefit from the ever-ascending quarterback contracts with the latest always making history.
The Falcons and Ryan agreed to a five-year, $150 million contract extension with $100 million guaranteed, according to multiple reports. Ryan is now the highest-paid player in the league and got the most guaranteed money for a quarterback in NFL history.
With Ryan now making $30 million annually, he pushes Flacco to the NFL’s ninth-highest paid quarterback at $22.1 million per year, per Spotrac.
There’s no doubt when Rodgers gets his expected contract extension from the Green Bay Packers, he will exceed Ryan’s numbers.
“Franchise quarterbacks are the sport's holy grail and are compensated accordingly,” wrote NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling. “As Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff once lamented, ‘Until you find your quarterback, the search for him consumes you.’”
That sentiment is certainly true, but it also doesn’t guarantee a winning season or a playoff berth …
Perriman One of 12 First-Rounders From 2015 That Didn’t Get Fifth-Year Option
Wide receiver Breshad Perriman wasn’t the only 2015 first-round draft pick who reportedly didn’t get his fifth-year option picked up.
In fact, 40 percent of the class didn’t either. Pro Football Focus looked at all 12 first-round players from 2015 that will become free agents after this season.
Pick No. 3 – DE Dante Fowler Jr. (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Pick No. 7 – WR Kevin White (Chicago Bears)
Pick No. 9 – OT Ereck Flowers (New York Giants)
Pick No. 12 – DI Danny Shelton (New England Patriots from Cleveland Browns)
Pick No. 19 – G Cameron Erving (Kansas City Chiefs from Cleveland Browns)
Pick No. 21 – OT Cedric Ogbuehi (Cincinnati Bengals)
Pick No. 23 – OLB Shane Ray (Denver Broncos)
Pick No. 26 – WR Breshad Perriman (Baltimore Ravens)
Pick No. 28 – G Laken Tomlinson (San Francisco 49ers from Detroit Lions)
Pick No. 29 – WR Phillip Dorsett (New England Patriots from Indianapolis Colts)
Pick No. 31 – LB Stephone Anthony (Miami Dolphins from New Orleans Saints)
Pick No. 32 – DI Malcom Brown (New England Patriots)
Peter King Leaves Sports Illustrated After 29 Years to Join NBC Sports
It’s the end of an era at Sports Illustrated, and the beginning of a new one at NBC Sports.
Long-time NFL insider Peter King and his popular “Monday Morning Quarterback” column will leave Sports Illustrated after working at the news outlet for 29 years.
“I’m thrilled to be joining NBC Sports full-time after working with the football crew there since 2006,” Kings said in a released statement.
“I’ve loved my time there, both in the studio and doing longer features for ‘Football Night in America,’ and the chance to bring my column there felt like a perfect match to me. I loved my time at Sports Illustrated. Quite frankly, it was very tough for me to leave. But the only place that felt like a great fit after my years at SI was NBC, which has always made me feel like a member of the family.”