Peter King: Lamar Jackson's Postseason Performance Could Be Delaying Extension
It was reported three months ago that the Ravens would like to finalize a deal to extend Lamar Jackson's contract "sooner than later," and the star quarterback has said that he "would love to stay here forever."
So why hasn't the deal gotten done yet?
NBC Sports' Peter King believes Jackson's postseason performances are is a factor.
"Most often, teams with accomplished young quarterbacks try to do long-term deals in the fourth year of the contract," King wrote. "So it's curious that the Ravens seem content to wait till after this season to get a contract done with Jackson. Curious, but I don't think it's wrong. I say that because of Jackson's postseason performance."
Jackson is 30-8 as a starter in the regular season and has a 69-18 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He's However, he's 1-3 in the playoffs with three touchdowns and five interceptions.
"It seems ludicrous to suggest that the Ravens shouldn't rush to re-sign the charismatic Jackson, who won the NFL MVP at age 22. But the playoffs hang over his head," King wrote. "It's easy to say it's just four games and you can't draw any conclusions on the small sample size. Maybe not. But can you eliminate the four most important games a player has played when you're discussing paying him $43 million a year for the next six years? I don't think so."
ESPN's Adam Schefter offered a different reason for why the extension hasn't happened yet: It's because Jackson, who does not have an agent negotiating the deal, "is immersed in his quarterbacking job."
"Negotiations have taken a back seat throughout training camp and into the season, according to sources, but both sides expect to complete a deal,"[add]'[delete] Schefter wrote. "A deal between Jackson and the Ravens could be completed during the season, but that likely will be when the former MVP has the time to focus on the negotiations, according to sources."
King said Jackson told him during training camp that it won't be hard for him to avoid thinking about his contract during the season[extra space].
"Nah," Jackson said, "because I'm playing. I'm doing something I love to do, so I don't really put that on my mind. That's all."
Tony Dungy: Lamar Jackson Will Win a Super Bowl Before He's Finished
What often gets lost in the discussion about Jackson's lack of postseason success is that he is one of only three players in NFL history to capture an MVP award and win a playoff game by their age-23 season. Hall of Famer Dan Marino and Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes are the others. Moreover, Hall of Famer Peyton Manning lost his first three playoff games and didn't win his first until he was 27.
Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, who coached Manning for seven seasons in Indianapolis, was effusive in his praise for Jackson during his appearance on Colin Cowherd's podcast.
"I would love to coach Lamar Jackson, to have him be my quarterback," Dungy said. "He gives the defense so much headache. There's things you can't do against Lamar Jackson on defense. He may not have the super accuracy that I'm looking for, but his mobility more than makes up for that. So, yeah, I think he's going to be special.
"I think he's gonna win a Super Bowl before he's finished."
On a side note, after the Ravens' season-opening loss to the Las Vegas Raiders Monday night, Jackson once again was the target of unwarranted criticism.
Were Jackson's two fumbles costly? Of course. But make no mistake: Jackson was one of the main reasons the Ravens led for the majority of the game.
Jackson, who was under pressure all night, engineered the drive that gave the Ravens a 27-24 lead with 37 seconds left, including a 28-yard run.
He doesn't need me or anyone else to defend him, but, thankfully, not everyone buys into the false narratives about Jackson.
"What doesn't seem worth panicking about is Jackson's play," The Ringer's Nora Princioti wrote. "He completed only 63 percent of his passes, but had an average depth of target of 9.1 yards, which ranked 18th in the league in Week 1, according to [Pro Football Focus]. That's not spectacular, but it hints at a decent downfield passing offense, and that was Baltimore's main priority this offseason.
"Jackson was his usual excellent self on the ground, rushing for 86 yards on 12 carries, which helped the Ravens maintain their typical position as the best running game in the NFL in Week 1 despite numerous injuries at running back. The Raiders also pressured Jackson on 55 percent of his dropbacks, according to the NFL's Next Gen Stats. That's hardly the ideal environment to get a solid assessment of a quarterback early in the season and, even so, Jackson had some promising moments."
Orlando Brown Jr.: It Was 'So Hard' to Leave Ravens
One of the subplots for Sunday night's game between the Ravens and Chiefs is that it's tackle Orlando Brown Jr.'s first game in Baltimore since being traded in the offseason.
ESPN and Sports Illustrated wrote in-depth feature stories on Brown and his decision to request a trade so that he could play left tackle, fulfilling a promise he made to his father, the late Orlando Brown Sr., who played his entire nine-year career at right tackle, including six seasons with the Ravens.
"His father died unexpectedly, but that didn't deter Orlando Jr.'s determination to carry out his wishes," ESPN's Adam Teicher wrote. "At 15 years old, he spoke at his father's funeral and told everyone he would keep his word to his dad. He would take care of his mother and two younger brothers, and he would do it by playing football."
Brown told Teicher that he knows he's not a classic fit at left tackle in a passing offense like the Chiefs have, but that doesn't mean he won't excel at the position.
"The offensive line positions are positions that can be manipulated," Brown said. "Oftentimes, you have men who are undersized who can play at a high level. A lot of times you have guys who are really big and super athletic who can play at a high level. Then you have guys like me, the worst athlete in the NFL, with the ability to stay between his man and the quarterback. All of that comes down to understanding my pros and cons and working with and around those. There are tricks and techniques I can use to take advantage of other guys."
Brown told Sports Illustrated's Alex Prewitt that leaving the Ravens was difficult, but with All-Pro Ronnie Stanley firmly entrenched at left tackle in Baltimore, it was the only way he could play the position.
"What they did for my family from the beginning, giving my dad an opportunity, and then turning around years later and giving me an opportunity," Brown said, "it was so hard to walk away from that."
Brown's mother, Mira Brown, reflected on the joy she felt when her son was drafted by the Ravens in 2018.
"What a blessing for Orlando Jr. to be drafted by the Ravens," she told Teicher. "For him to have that opportunity to actually walk in his father's footsteps in a city where he was born, Orlando Sr. would have been ecstatic. The Ravens had been our family for 25 years."
- The Ravens are No. 18 in PFF's offensive line rankings after Week 1. "Ronnie Stanley is one of the best left tackles in the game, but he didn't look 100% healthy in his return from a significant injury. Stanley was beaten for nine total pressures against the Raiders on Monday night — one more than he was beaten for in a 15-game season in 2019. Alejandro Villanueva surrendered even more (10) at right tackle, and those are supposed to be the stronger parts of Baltimore's line. The Ravens have an outstanding scheme to protect linemen, but it may be put to the test until Stanley is back to full fitness."