Did Ravens use 1 QB to create leverage in Lamar Jackson negotiations?
The Baltimore Ravens finally signed Lamar Jackson to a contract extension just hours before the 2023 NFL Draft began, and the timing likely was not a coincidence.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote in his latest insider column this week that the Ravens may have used the draft to gain significant leverage in contract negotiations with Jackson. According to Fowler, the Ravens were considering drafting a quarterback with the 22nd overall pick if they did not have a deal in place with Jackson.
“In the absence of a Lamar Jackson deal by the start of the draft, I believe, after asking around, that the Ravens would have considered quarterback Will Levis with the 22nd overall pick,” Fowler wrote. “Finalizing a deal for Jackson before Thursday night was prudent for Baltimore, which could implement the possibility of drafting a passer as leverage.”
The Ravens were able to use the draft as leverage in two ways. For starters, they likely communicated to Jackson’s camp that they were considering using a first-round pick on a quarterback if no agreement could be reached. Assuming Jackson planned to remain in Baltimore, he would not have wanted the team wasting such a valuable pick.
If that didn’t work, the Ravens could have actually drafted Levis or another quarterback. That would have allowed them to continue negotiations while having a potential QB of the future on their roster.
Jackson still made out well with the new deal, which is for $260 million over five years. He’s getting a record $72.5 million signing bonus and also has some very valuable clauses built into the contract. Still, it would not be a surprise if he felt more urgency than the Ravens to come to an agreement before the draft began.
H/T Bro Bible