What Mink Thinks: Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Quarterback

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws the ball prior to an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, December 5, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If the start of the 2022 free agency has shown us anything, it's that quarterbacks don't come cheap – especially the really good ones.

Aaron Rodgers got $50 million per year (reportedly) to stay with the Packers. The Broncos gave up a king's ransom in picks and players to get Russell Wilson. The Commanders forked over a couple of third-round picks and swallowed a big salary to get Carson Wentz.

It's a league with a lot of "have nots" at quarterback and GMs who watched the Rams win the Super Bowl after going with the "f them picks" strategy to get Matthew Stafford.

Quarterback prices are spiking faster than gas pumps these days.

Of course, this isn't a new phenomenon. It seems every offseason there's a quarterback deal that makes your jaw drop. Ravens fans saw that first-hand when Joe Flacco became the NFL's highest-paid player following his Super Bowl XLVII victory. The price is never going to go down. It's just a matter of how much it goes up.

This brings us to Lamar Jackson, who has befuddled many pundits and fans with his seemingly nonchalant attitude towards getting his contract extension done.

Jackson sees what's going on, and he made it clear in his appearance on "The Shop" with LeBron James that becoming a "billionaire" is something he's dreamed about for a long time along with winning a Super Bowl.

The reason for Jackson to sign a contract extension now would be to secure that hefty price tag and guaranteed money. Not doing so means taking a risk. He could (knock on wood) suffer an injury more damaging to his value than last year's ankle.

But Jackson has never been somebody that's afraid. He's always been somebody that's bet on himself. He bet on himself that he would be a superstar quarterback when others said he should switch positions. He plays the game with a fearlessness that makes him dangerous to opponents and, sometimes, himself.

So maybe Jackson figures he'll just wait this out, keep watching the price tag for quarterbacks escalate and work towards winning the Super Bowl he promised Baltimore. Then, instead of cashing in coming off an injury-hampered season, he could really score.

Again, it's a gamble. If the rest of us saw tens of millions of dollars with our name on it, we'd immediately ask where to sign. But if you haven't noticed by now, Lamar Jackson isn't like the rest of us. He's a unique guy with a unique way of going about these negotiations.

The Ravens are working at Jackson's pace. The longer we all wait, the more examples we're going to get about how much good quarterbacks cost. And Jackson isn't just a "good" quarterback.

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