The clock is ticking on the Ravens’ window to negotiate a contract extension with quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson said Wednesday that he expects to cut off discussions with Ravens officials Friday, two days before the team’s season opener against the New York Jets.
“As of right now, we’re still talking,” said Jackson, who earlier in the preseason had indicated his unwillingness to negotiate during the season. “The week’s not over yet, but soon.”
Jackson is set to earn $23 million this season, the final year of his rookie contract. Contract talks ramped up during the summer, but Jackson declined to comment on whether the sides had made progress.
“I have no clue,” Jackson said. “You’ll have to ask the guy who I’m talking to. Talk to the GM [general manager Eric DeCosta] about that.”
Speculation about a potential deal for the 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player intensified over the summer. After Deshaun Watson received a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million deal from the Cleveland Browns in March, officials and analysts around the league wondered whether Watson’s megadeal would establish a precedent for quarterbacks seeking extensions.
So far, it hasn’t. In July, the Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray agreed to a five-year, $230.5 million extension with $160 million guaranteed over the lifetime of the contract. Last week, the Denver Broncos signed quarterback Russell Wilson to a five-year, $245 million extension, with $165 million in guarantees.
Jackson, who’s maintained that Watson’s deal won’t affect his demands, said he’s not worried about the risk of playing on the last year of his contract. If the Ravens can’t agree to a deal by the time Jackson reaches unrestricted free agency next offseason, he’s expected to receive the exclusive franchise tag, which would assure him a one-year deal worth about $45 million,
“I mean, it was a pretty big risk last season, the year before,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking about contract negotiations around that time. This season is going to be the same thing. But I’m just playing football. Anything can happen, but God forbid, the wrong thing happens. I’m keeping God first and just playing ball, like I’ve been doing.”
This story will be updated.