As if there wasn't enough NFL news going around this week! Days after the Aaron Rodgers trade ended one of the offseason's longest-running sagas, the hours before Day 1 of the NFL draft yielded a conclusion for another. After months of speculation, tweets and rumors, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens came to terms on a five-year contract extension. Baltimore's star quarterback isn't going anywhere for years to come.
While it had become clear that the most likely scenario for Jackson was a return to Baltimore, the extension means that Jackson will be the Ravens quarterback beyond the 2023 and 2024 seasons. In addition to solving what looked to be a possible quarterback quandary for John Harbaugh's team in the long term, it also brought an end to one of the more interesting opportunities we've seen for NFL teams over the past decade. Given an opportunity to try and land a 26-year-old former MVP at the most important position in sports, no one bit.
After closely observing everything that went down with Jackson, the Ravens and the rest of the league over the past two months, I believe that there are a few lessons to be learned. Here are my takeaways from the entire Jackson saga and what I gleaned from the process, which impacts both the Ravens and other players and teams around the league for years to come.
It worked out pretty well in the end for Jackson
No, Jackson didn't get the fully guaranteed deal he reportedly wanted throughout this process. We're still waiting to see the exact structure and cash flow of the deal to get a sense of how the guarantees work, but the top-line numbers are huge. Jackson has reportedly landed a five-year, $260 million deal with $185 million in guarantees. Both numbers would be the largest for any player in football, narrowly topping the deal Jalen Hurts signed with the Eagles earlier this month.