Deshaun Watson’s fully secured deal would fully take into account Lamar Jackson’s next contract

Back in June, when Lamar Jackson Finally he addressed the mystery surrounding his tenuous conversations with Baltimore Ravensproposed the most jaw-dropping agreement in NFL history – the stretch between Deshaun Watson and the Cleveland Browns – It had no effect on his situation.

“I’m my own man,” said Jackson. “I don’t worry about what these guys get.”

On Friday, Jackson became a man on me owned by him.

The contract with the crows has not been extended. No money is guaranteed after 2022. There is no protection against catastrophic injury. Perhaps most telling is the sheer uncertainty that this gamble will eventually work for the 25-year-old ex-league player. In the history of NFL player dice rolls, this is arguably the most dangerous of all. It has a massive array of potential outcomes, from Jackson eventually receiving the richest extension professional football has ever seen, to the possibility of him suffering a serious injury or a season that changes the entire course of his next contract.

All this is on the table now. And the idea that the Watson deal had nothing to do with it is incredibly absurd.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson celebrates his touchdown against Levon Bell against the Los Angeles Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium on October 17, 2021 in Baltimore. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Can Lamar Jackson follow the similar path of his cousins, Prescott and Rodgers?

In a league where leverage creates royalty, it would be foolish to think that Jackson doesn’t take into account the $230 million fully secured contract signed by Watson or the circumstances that ultimately secured such a massive bag. Jackson’s “bet on himself” nature now requires that he consider Watson’s contract. What good is betting on yourself if you don’t think about the windfall of a select few quarterbacks who have funneled their influence into league-forming and life-altering decades?

consider them:

  • Kirk Cousins ​​played for two franchises in Washington and then forced himself to work in a free agency at the age of 29. The payoff was a solid player midway through his prime and established an amazing financial trajectory for the remainder of his career. First with a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings, then with a series of additions that would eventually result in Cousins ​​retiring one day with nearly $250 million in career earnings.

  • Dak Prescott played through one franchise label with the Dallas Cowboys after refusing to extend the contract in back-to-back seasons. With team owner Jerry Jones facing the abyss of starting over at the quarterback position, Prescott turned his influence into a four-year, $160 million deal (with a $126 million guarantee) that would make him eligible for free agency at age 31. If Prescott’s productivity remains at its current level And playing until at least his late thirties, he could potentially reach $500 million in career earnings by retirement.

  • Aaron Rodgers has built his former extension to put the Green Bay Packers at a crossroads after the 2021 season. They will either need to sign him to a new deal, swap him or blow up parts of the team by keeping him and taking charge of his $46.7 million salary cap in 2022. The result: Rodgers signed a three-year deal of nearly $151 million, with a guarantee of more than $101 million. If he plays the next three seasons, he will make approximately $350 million in career earnings. There’s also another $112 million crammed into a pair of options years in 2025 and 2026, if he’s inclined to play until he’s 43. This seems unlikely, but if it did, Rodgers’ career earnings would be as high as $450 million.

As impressive as this trio has been in the contract negotiation complex, Watson has been the off-season heavy hammer. Not only did he generate an enormous amount of leverage by simply sitting out the 2021 season and pressing the “no-trade” clause, he played his trading role perfectly – “eliminating” Brown early enough to give the franchise time to meet its astronomical demands.

Despite the enormous importance of off-field litigation and the allegations of sexual assault and misconduct that have been attached to it, the extremely odd combination of circumstances – combined with Brown’s desperation – helped him generate more contracting influence than any player before him. The end result was a deal that was bound to eventually create problems in the quarterback’s negotiations, even if players like Keeler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals and Russell Wilson of the Denver Broncos were not willing to use the Watson deal as a model for their own accessories. .

What did Jackson refuse?

In fact, it will always be in the hands of elite brokers and their agents when it comes to following in the footsteps of the Watson deal. While Murray and Wilson were able to up the ante in terms of guaranteed money, neither of them risked playing with their trades to maximize their leverage. Jackson is taking the step that Murray and Wilson haven’t taken. If the ultimate goal of this move isn’t to secure similar guaranteed funds to Watson’s, why take the extra risk?

The logical answer is don’t.

The deal that was on the table when talks broke down on Friday was an extension that, according to a league source, would have made Jackson the second-highest-paid player in the NFL, with money guaranteed only surpassed by Watson. Jackson’s rejection of this type of deal is a strong statement, saying he’s looking to skip everyone when all of this is over, not just everyone other than Watson. If that’s the goal, not being able to reach the Friday extension makes sense.

Keep in mind that Jackson’s lack of an agent simplifies his decision-making process in a way that is fundamentally different from other elite players who have signed deals. If Jackson is open to playing through big risks, there’s no agent’s voice in his ear that reminds him of what he might lose in the next six months. Then consider that Jackson is now one season away from reaching his first milestone that dramatically changed the landscape for Cousins ​​and Prescott: forcing his team to use the franchise in 2023. Not any sign either. In all likelihood, the Ravens will use an exclusive label, preventing Jackson from speaking to any other teams and putting his 2023 payout into the league’s top five quarterback average salaries (a range currently between $45 million and $50 million).

This would be the biggest cover for a single season a team has hit under the franchise brand. And when you add that 20 percent in salary to the second tick in 2024, it amounts to massive leverage, the kind that the player eventually gets whatever deal they’re looking for.

This is the path that Jackson walks with the crows. In the rear-view mirror of some of the other elite quarterback deals that have been leveraged, it should look familiar. All Jackson has to do now is stay healthy and play to his roof. If he did, he would definitely be a man of his own.

With a paycheck it varies a lot, too.