The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

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230 Million Dollar Man

In 2023, professional athletes have the opportunity to make hundreds of millions of dollars, and this has led to much controversy about whether or not they should be asking for more and more. Every NFL offseason has players signing the highest-paid contract for their position ever, last year being Green Bay Packers QB, Aaron Rodgers, signing a 3-year 150 million dollar deal, giving an annual salary of 50 million. This begs the question, how much money are teams willing to fork over to ensure that a single player will be on their team for years to come? The controversy of this question is perfectly depicted with the Baltimore Ravens QB, Lamar Jackson, and his contract negotiations.

 

In the 2019 NFL season, Lamar Jackson took the reins of the Baltimore Ravens offense, marking his first full season as a starting quarterback. In just his second season in the league, and first as a full-time starter, Jackson became the second player to ever win the MVP award unanimously. Since the 2019 season, Lamar has had some issues remaining healthy, as most run-first quarterbacks do, but still has remained as a top player in the league when he’s on the field. Heading into the 2023 season, he decided to not sign a contract extension, betting on himself to play well in hopes of being offered a larger contract. 

 

Lamar Jackson believes himself to be, as many do, one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. With quarterback being the most important position on the field, most teams are more than willing to pay whatever it might cost to keep a great young player around for years to come, however, Lamar’s injury concerns come into play. The big issue with the contract negotiations isn’t the amount of money in the contract itself, but the amount of guaranteed money. In terms of NFL contracts, guaranteed money is money that will go to the play no matter what, even if the team were to cut him. In Lamar Jackson’s situation, the Baltimore Ravens are okay with paying 45+ million per year to Lamar, but they don’t want to make the entire contract guaranteed in case of an injury, because if the entire contract is guaranteed money, Lamar could have an injury ruin his ability to run or throw as well as he can, but he will still be guaranteed all of money he signed for. 

 

A question you might be asking is how much money is Lamar asking for. Lamar Jackson has stated that he wants a contract no less than that of the Cleveland Browns QB, Deshaun Watson, who signed a fully guaranteed, 5-year 230 million 230-million-dollar contract last off-season. Watson signed this contract after sitting out the entire 2021 season and being suspended for 11 games on sexual misconduct and assault charges. After returning from his absence, Watson’s play was underwhelming to say the least, especially for the historically large contract that he signed in the off-season. So, in all fairness, Lamar Jackson believes that he is deserving no less than Watson who hasn’t done anything to prove he is worth a contract like that, when Lamar has an MVP to his name and has been consistently a top 5 or 10 quarterback each year since 2019. 

 

Outside of injuries, there are a few other reasons the Ravens might not sign Lamar for the amount of money he wants. Only three quarterbacks in the history of the NFL have made the Superbowl with their salary holding 13% or more of the team’s total salary cap, and only one has won it. In 2023, Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl victory over the Eagles while holding 17.2% of the cap space. No matter how good Lamar Jackson is, he just isn’t up to the standard of Tom Brady and other players in this situation like Patrick Mahomes. If Lamar were to sign a similar contract to Deshaun Watson, he would hold around 20-25% of the salary cap. The numbers don’t lie, if the Ravens are serious about wanting to win a super bowl, it would be smart to consider trading away Lamar Jackson and building around a possibly young quarterback taken in this or next year’s draft using the picks received as compensation for Jackson. 

 

Lamar Jackson is undoubtedly a franchise altering talent, but the quarterback market was tanked by Deshaun Watson’s contract. Many teams are going to be hesitant to sign a player to such a large deal with so much guaranteed money because a major injury could happen at any moment. To make everything worse, Lamar has had a history of injuries similar to most quarterbacks that run a lot. The contract negotiations remain at a standstill, and the only thing fans can do is wait to see what happens. 

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About the Contributor
Mitchell Brenner, Staff Writer
Mitchell Brenner is a writer for the Whittier Miscellany and is in his third year writing for the newspaper. Mitchell mostly writes about news that comes up in professional sports, especially the NFL and NBA. Mitchell plays football and runs track at Wilmington Friends, which inspires his writing through his investment in sports.

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