Lamar Jackson has been eligible for a new contract since the end of the 2020 season and despite having two years to get a deal done, the Ravens haven’t been able to hammer out a new contract with their star quarterback.
Not only have negotiations completely fallen apart, but things have gotten so bad that Jackson actually requested a trade on March 2, a trade request that had remained a secret until he revealed its existence on Monday. Jackson is believed to be looking for a fully guaranteed deal, which he hasn’t been able to get from any team.
So why can’t Jackson get the deal he wants?
Former NFL star Richard Sherman blames that on other quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. The five-time Pro Bowler says Mahomes should have looked to set a “precedent” with a fully guaranteed deal instead of taking the “B.S.” 10-year contract that he ended up accepting.
“What pissed me off is when Kirk Cousins got his guaranteed deal, I thought all the quarterbacks from then on were going to be like, ‘Hey, if it ain’t guaranteed, I ain’t taking it,'” Sherman said on his podcast. “Then Mahomes took that B.S. deal, just 10 years and wanted it to look like half a [billion], but if you get half of that fully guaranteed, everybody’s happier. That sets precedent.”
Mahomes signed a 10-year, $477 million deal in July 2020 that included just $63 million in fully guaranteed money (Mahomes’ contract is made up of rolling guarantees that he knows he’ll eventually get since the Chiefs likely won’t be cutting him at any point during the deal).
Thirteen months after Mahomes got his new deal, Josh Allen landed a six-year extension from the Bills in August 2021, and like his Chiefs counterpart, Allen didn’t aim to get a fully guaranteed deal. Deshaun Watson did get a fully guaranteed $230 million deal, but that situation involved a desperate team looking to make a major move.
“When [Mahomes] didn’t set it, then Josh Allen didn’t set it, now Lamar’s trying to set it after Deshaun’s already set it. And [owners] are like, ‘Nah,” Sherman said.
Sherman is essentially saying that Jackson lost any leverage he might have had for a fully guaranteed deal when Mahomes and Allen didn’t try to get one. Also, the Watson deal hasn’t helped things, because his contract has backfired so far with Watson struggling through his first season in Cleveland.
As for Jackson, Sherman is shocked at the fact that no team out there is willing to meet his asking price, considering he’s a former NFL MVP who’s led his team to the playoffs four times.
“For them to say that nobody’s interested in him, [teams are] trading two first-round picks for D-linemen and safeties and you’re talking about a former MVP of the league,” Sherman said. “A lot of of these teams don’t have nobody at the quarterback spot. Some of them are trading two first-round picks to draft a kid and you don’t know what he’s going to be.”
At this point, it’s highly unlikely that Jackson will be able to land a fully guaranteed deal from anyone and that’s clearly not sitting well with former players like Sherman who feel that he deserves that kind of contract for his body of work.