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Lamar Jackson: Biggest NFL Payday in History Incoming?

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

Lamar Jackson may be in for the next big contract in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes got $450 million over 10 years, [1] and I am not saying that Lamar Jackson’s new contract will be anything close to that, but he deserves a payday.

I should preface this with the fact that I am a massive Lamar Jackson fan, which led me to write this article. It is the perfect opportunity to explain why he is so good despite the criticism he gets. If you are reading this and you do not see Lamar’s talent, go watch some highlights and you will see how exciting he makes the game. He impacts the game the way Stephen Curry has modernized the three-point shot in basketball or the way Lionel Messi revolutionized the modern game of football. But I digress, and now on to why he may get a massive contract in the near future.

So now, onto the numbers. Lamar can negotiate a new contract any time between now and 2023, however, if the Ravens wait until 2023 to sign him, that requires putting him under a franchise tag, which eats a ton of salary cap space. That is not in their best interest, which is why this contract must be coming soon. If the Ravens can agree to a new contract before they are forced to franchise tag him, then they are able to more evenly distribute how much cap space his contract accounts for per year. It is easy to see why Lamar is deserving of a huge contract, but it can be broken down most clearly using some statistics.

Michael Vick is, by some, regarded as the best rushing quarterback of all time. Yet he has never had multiple seasons with 1,000 rushing yards over his 13-year career. [2] Lamar Jackson had two in his first three seasons. He’s also the record holder for the most rushing yards and rushing attempts for a quarterback in history. [3] He set that record in 2019, when he ranked sixth in rushing yards in the NFL. Not to mention he did that as a quarterback. To recognize the scope of this, he finished above Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon, two of the premier running backs in the league. [4] Yet, people still made the argument that he didn’t deserve the MVP award he won in 2019 because he didn’t fit the model of the “traditional” quarterback. To that, you can cite his record for most games with a perfect passer rating in a season, in which he has the joint record with Ben Roethlisberger, one of the premier pocket passers in NFL history. So now that it’s been established that he is one of the best, if not the best, rushing quarterback in NFL history, I hope that it can clearly be seen why he deserves somewhere in the region of that Patrick Mahomes contract I cited earlier.

So, if all those statistics and comparisons couldn’t convince you why he deserves a massive contract, watch him play and you’ll understand the impact he has on the game. I’ve never seen another quarterback handle 20+ carries a game, and still play at full speed in the fourth quarter. I have never seen, and I don’t think I ever will see, a more true dual-threat quarterback in the NFL. To cap this off, let me drop this quote that Lamar’s coach, John Harbaugh, said to him during his 2019 MVP season. He simply asked, “Do you know how many little kids in this country are gonna be wearing the number 8 playing quarterback for the next 20 years?” [5] This just speaks to the way Lamar Jackson has revolutionized the position like no one in NFL history, paving the way for rushing quarterbacks to thrive, and making an impact that goes beyond even football itself. It’s clear and obvious that Lamar’s contribution to the game extends into the hearts of young football fans around the world, and even though no dollar amount can be placed on that impact, Lamar deserves as much money as the Ravens can give him.

Jon Trusz is a Junior at the University of Connecticut studying Political Science and Communications, and can be reached on LinkedIn under his name, or by email at [email protected].

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