John Harbaugh is ‘totally certain’ Lamar Jackson will sign long-term deal

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Andrew Gillis
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John Harbaugh is ‘totally certain’ Lamar Jackson will sign long-term deal originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Ravens coach John Harbaugh doesn’t handle contract negotiations for the Ravens, but that doesn’t mean he’s not certain about the future of his team’s quarterback. 

Lamar Jackson, a 2018 first-round draft choice, is now eligible for an extension after his third year in the league. Through two-and-a-half years as a starter, it’s a foregone conclusion.

“Absolutely we want Lamar to sign a long-term deal and be with us and I’m totally certain that’s going to happen,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “When it happens, that’s the details and that’s what we’ve got to figure out.”

Jackson has started 37 career games for the Ravens with 46 total appearances and has put together a 30-7 record as the team’s starter, including a 24-6 mark in the last two seasons. 

Since the start of the 2019 season, Jackson has thrown 62 touchdown passes and just 15 interceptions with an average of 196.1 yards per game. Jackson has also rushed for 2,211 yards — and is the only quarterback in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season twice — as he’s led the Ravens to back-to-back seasons atop the NFL’s rushing list.

Four of the five quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft (Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen and Sam Darnold) can be extended this offseason. Josh Rosen has since fallen out of a starting gig and is currently a member of the 49ers, his fourth NFL team.

Last offseason, Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes, first-round choices in the 2017 NFL Draft, signed extensions with the Texans and Chiefs. 

Watson’s contract is worth $160 million over four years and, starting in 2022, will count $40.4 million against the salary cap. He will become a free agent in 2026.

Patrick Mahomes’ contract was much more expensive and will pay him upwards of $503 million over the next decade. He will not become a free agent until 2032 when he will be 37 years old. Mahomes also won an MVP in his second season in the league, like Jackson.

As for what Jackson’s contract will look like remains to be seen, but it’s a near-certainty they’ll make keeping him in Baltimore priority No. 1. 

“That’ll happen either this year or next year I’m sure,” Harbaugh said. “We do have a tough salary cap situation across the league because of the pandemic. The salary cap is unpredictable and is probably going to drop right now. I think the guys that negotiate those, for all these contracts for all these players across the league, that’s going to be a real question mark.”