NFL Rumors: Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson Insisting on Fully-Guaranteed Contract

The Cleveland Browns did their AFC North rivals no favors by inking quarterback Deshaun Watson to a massive five-year, $230 million deal in 2022, but for different reasons than they might have expected. Per ESPN's Jamison Hensley and Jeremy Fowler, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson's contract negotiation counteroffers have all included fully-guaranteed deals that exceed Watson's one-of-a-kind deal.

The Browns acquired Watson last offseason via a blockbuster trade that included multiple first-round picks. A bidding war between themselves, the New Orleans Saints, and the Atlanta Falcons forced the Browns to deploy an unheard-of trump card: a fully-guaranteed contract. Now, Jackson is pursuing a similar (but likely even richer) deal.

There should be little doubt that Jackson is a superior and more valuable player than Watson. Even ignoring Watson's significant, troubling off-field behaviour, Jackson is simply a younger and more accomplished quarterback; he won MVP in 2019, after all. However, just because the Browns signed Watson to an ill-advised deal doesn't mean the Ravens have to follow in their footsteps.

Jackson is simply not the league's best or most valuable quarterback, making a precedent-shattering contract difficult to justify. Injuries have become an issue in recent seasons: including the postseason, Jackson has missed 11 games since 2021. He's also been less than stellar in the playoffs (1-3 record, 68.3 passer rating). Outside of that iconic 2019 season, the Ravens have only finished as a top-10 scoring offense once under his tenure.

Still, being paid like the best doesn't necessitate playing like the best. If Jackson takes a hard stance in negotiations, he may force a messy divorce from the only NFL franchise he has ever known. Stay tuned.
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