After more than a year of rumors and stalled negotiations, the Ravens reached a five-year deal with quarterback Lamar Jackson on Thursday worth a reported $260 million. That includes $185 million guaranteed, which was said to be a major holdup for Jackson throughout the process.
In part due to the back-and-forth and public nature of these negotiations, the consequences of this deal reach far beyond Baltimore. Jackson’s future was very much up in limbo over the past couple months, and multiple teams could have been considering a bid at the dual-threat quarterback.
Here’s a look at the impact of Jackson’s deal around the league:
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The divisional rivals
Let’s start out with the obvious. The rest of the AFC North probably wouldn’t have minded saying farewell to the former MVP.
The Cincinnati Bengals have had a firm hold of the division under Joe Burrow, but Jackson and the Ravens are always lurking and have kept the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns out of the mix.
With the contract negotiations in the past, could this be the year that Jackson dethrones Burrow atop the division?
New England Patriots
The quarterback questioners
At 26 years old, Jackson was top of mind for a number of teams searching for a franchise quarterback.
The Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all have glaring vacancies at the quarterback position. It’s been presumed that the Colts will take a quarterback with the No. 4 pick in tonight’s draft, but the deal with Jackson almost guarantees that.
Farther down the crisis ladder are teams like the Detroit Lions and New England Patriots.
Both have capable quarterbacks under contract – Jared Goff and Mac Jones, respectively – but are unable to break into the elite tier of the NFL. Both Detroit and New England would likely have entertained interest from a talent like Jackson if the price was right.
Lastly, the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins round out the group of teams that could have courted Jackson. Both made the playoffs and had some success behind Brock Purdy and Tua Tagovailoa, respectively.
However, Purdy’s emergence from Mr. Irrelevant to the NFC title game, where he ultimately injured his elbow and required surgery, and the continued presence of Trey Lance leaves considerable question marks out in the Bay Area. Similarly, Miami has a solid play-caller in Tagovailoa but multiple serious head injuries have put his future at risk.
The contract footrace
Jackon’s agreement with the Ravens came following major deals for fellow quarterbacks Daniel Jones, Jalen Hurts and Geno Smith. That pretty much takes every major name off the board for the 2023 free agency cycle, but this deal once again raises the stakes for players and general managers alike.
As the highest-paid player in the league, Jackson now sets a new standard for all future deals.