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#pounditSaturday, January 28, 2023

Stephen A. Smith offers bold advice for Lamar Jackson

Stephen A Smith reports from the sideline

Dec 18, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith broadcasts before a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson has been seeking a new contract from the Baltimore Ravens, and one longtime ESPN analyst thinks the star quarterback should refuse to play in the regular season if he does not get it.

Stephen A. Smith was asked during Tuesday’s edition of “First Take” if he thinks Jackson should play in Week 1 without a new deal in place. He said the former NFL MVP would be a fool to do that.

“Not at all. Not even a little bit,” Smith said. “I think that would be one of the dumbest things he could possibly do. … We understand that last year when you were out the last four games wasn’t the first time you had an injury in your career. You’ve had various injuries in your career. Something could end your season. Something could end your career. It wasn’t like you hurt your hand or hurt your shoulder — no no, brother, you hurt those wheels. Those electrifying wheels that we have never seen from the quarterback position in the history of the game. You went down with an ankle injury.”

Smith believes Jackson would be risking his entire future if he played in a competitive game again without signing an extension. He said it would be a “grave, grave mistake to roll those dice and take those chances.”

Jackson does not have an agent and represents himself. Smith also criticized him for that and said the two-time Pro Bowler should not be trying to save money by negotiating his own deal.

There has been no indication that Jackson will refuse to play in Week 1 if he and the Ravens cannot reach an agreement. Though, he has informed the team that he will not negotiate once the regular season begins. If Jackson takes a hard stance, he will likely be headed for the franchise tag next offseason.

Naturally, Jackson is seeking a deal that is comparable to the $230 million guaranteed Deshaun Watson got from the Cleveland Browns. While the Ravens may not be willing to go that high, they have reportedly informed Jackson that they are open to giving him a bigger contract than the massive one another star QB recently signed.


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