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It’s hard to feel sorry for Lamar Jackson in his ongoing contract squabble with the Ravens

Lamar Jackson is a talented quarterback and one of the greatest weapons in the NFL. But he’s still not worth $230 million guaranteed.

Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

“You don’t really fear Lamar’s accuracy all the time. He’s got a huge arm, he can make things happen when he scrambles, but you don’t fear him just sitting in the pocket and picking you apart. You can bring safeties down because you do fear him running because he’s a different level runner. So you fear that, so you bring safeties down.”

The quote that introduces this article is from former Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, during a recent episode of his “Footbahlin” podcast.

As the kids say, today, “Where’s the lie?”

Roethlisberger was discussing the talents of quarterback Lamar Jackson who is in an ongoing contract dispute with the Ravens.

Roethlisberger’s analytical thoughts on Jackson were deemed disrespectful by people in the national media—including former NFL quarterback, Robert Griffin III. That’s right, RGIII, a very talented national football personality on par with Tony Romo, took exception and called out Roethlisberger for his critique of Jackson.

Did you know that Jackson has a better passer rating in the pocket than Roethlisberger and, unlike No. 7, is a former NFL MVP?

It makes perfect sense that RGIII would be so defensive of Jackson because the former is like so many in the national sports media: Griffin seems to think that the Ravens should give Jackson whatever he wants.


I may be a Steelers writer, but if you’ve seen my work, you know that I have no problem mocking their fans. One such time was the summer of 2021 when Steelers faithful all over the globe seemed to be unified in the belief that T.J. Watt deserved $100 million guaranteed as part of a new contract.

Obviously, guaranteeing any player money past the first year of a deal was unprecedented for the organization, and $100 million? Wow.

Talk about going out of your comfort zone.

The contract drama between Watt and the Steelers dragged on through the summer. Most fans sided with Watt and demanded that the organization give him whatever he wanted.


“I want someone to want me as much as Steelers fans want T.J. Watt to be guaranteed $100 million,” I may have Tweeted once or twice that summer.

However, there were some who thought that guaranteeing an outside linebacker that kind of money was more than a little risky.

What if Watt got hurt? What if his play declined due to injury and/or age?

The two sides ultimately reached an agreement on the eve of the 2021 regular season; Watt inked a four-year extension worth up to $112 million, with $80 million fully guaranteed. Watt didn’t get the $100 million in guaranteed money he was rumored to want, but the deal made him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

Watt more than lived up to the contract that season, recording 22.5 sacks and being voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Unfortunately for Watt, those injury concerns reared their ugly head right out of the gate in 2022 when he suffered a pectoral tear in Week 1 and missed seven weeks.

Will Watt, who even dealt with injuries during his magical 2021 campaign, continue to play at the level that has seen him tally 77.5 sacks since 2017? Or, at 28 years old, will he begin to physically break down like his more famous brother, J.J. Watt, who suffered many serious injuries over the latter half of his Hall of Fame career?

You can see why going down the guaranteed money road—especially when it’s THAT much guaranteed money—can be a slippery slope for NFL teams.

This brings me back to Jackson and his demands.

I want someone to want me as much as the national sports media wants Jackson to be guaranteed $230 million.

Guaranteed money is apparently the sticking point with Jackson and the Ravens, and it is being speculated that Jackson wants a contract on par with what the Browns gave Deshaun Watson last offseason.

If Jackson really is looking to be guaranteed $230 million, can you blame Baltimore for saying no?

I get it, Jackson is a great player, but he does have his flaws. What did Roethlisberger say about his playing style that was wrong? He described Jackson perfectly. It’s what everyone has been saying about him for years.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s unfair to call Jackson a running back, which a lot of idiotic fans—many of whom root for the black and gold—are prone to do when criticizing him.

Jackson is a more dangerous passer than he’s often given credit for, but he’s no Ben Roethlisberger.

Jackson has always been known as a run-first, pass-second quarterback.

It’s what makes him special. It’s what made him an NFL MVP in 2019.

But it’s also what made him prone to injuries the past two seasons.

Jackson missed a combined 10 games in 2021 and 2022, as the Ravens imploded down the stretch and missed the playoffs each time.

Jackson has 727 carries over his first five seasons, an insane amount for a quarterback.

Jackson’s not the biggest quarterback in the world, and one has to wonder if his style of play will catch up to him once and for all.

Yet, despite all of that, Baltimore reportedly offered Jackson a contract that guaranteed him $132 million.

This might make me sound like Joe Six-Pack (of beer), but I have a hard time feeling sorry for Jackson and this perceived disrespect when the numbers get that high.

The Ravens clearly value Jackson, or they wouldn’t be willing to pay him an average of $44 million a season (fully guaranteed).

Maybe Jackson wants guaranteed money on par with the likes of Josh Allen ($150 million), Aaron Rodgers ($150 million) and Patrick Mahomes ($141 million); that I can get on board with. However, when it gets to $230 million or even the $189 million that the Cardinals inexplicably guaranteed to Kyler Murray, I have a harder time siding with Jackson.

We might have reached the point where the contracts given to quarterbacks—even extremely talented quarterbacks—have gotten way out of hand.

The Packers might regret guaranteeing $150 million to Rodgers, 39, while there is no doubt the Broncos are already regretting their decision to trade for Russell Wilson AND guarantee him $161 million.

In conclusion, I think Lamar Jackson deserves to be paid like the franchise quarterback that he is—there may not be a more valuable player to his team in the entire NFL—but don’t expect me to feel sorry for the fact that the Ravens haven’t caved to his apparent demand to be guaranteed more money than Deshaun Watson.

In an ideal world, Baltimore would guarantee Lamar Jackson $250 million and wreck its chances of building a competitive roster around him. But as much as I hate the Ravens, I can’t expect them to be as stupid as the Browns.

The national media shouldn’t, either.