The Cleveland Browns made NFL history when they reworked quarterback Deshaun Watson’s contract.
The move happened soon after the Browns traded for the three-time Pro Bowler and includes more guaranteed money than any contract before it.
The contract is for five years at a cost of $230 million which comes out to an average of $46 million per year.
New #Browns QB Deshaun Watson has passed his physical and will sign his 5-year, $230M contract today. At 1 pm, Cleveland will introduce Watson in a press conference also featuring coach Kevin Stefanski and GM Andrew Berry.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 25, 2022
The complication, however, is that all $230 million is fully guaranteed, and exceeds the previous NFL record for fully guaranteed money by $80 million.
The record-setting deal is expected to have a ripple effect throughout the NFL, and more specifically in the AFC North with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.
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The Ravens are in the midst of trying to extend MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is entering the final year of his five-year rookie contract.
— New York Post (@nypost) March 29, 2022
Jackson is an MVP and a Pro Bowler with more accolades than Watson, which means that the Ravens are looking at a hefty price tag to resign him.
Here’s what Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti had to say in regards to the Watson contract at the NFL league meetings on Tuesday, March 29 per ESPN.
“I’m trying to answer that when I had a reaction to it. And it’s like, ‘Damn, I wish they hadn’t guaranteed the whole contract,'” Bisciotti said Tuesday at the NFL league meetings. “I don’t know that he should’ve been the first guy to get a fully guaranteed contract. To me, that’s something that is groundbreaking, and it’ll make negotiations harder with others.”
Bisciotti then added, “But it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to play that game, you know? We shall see. If I was in bogged-down negotiations with Lamar, then maybe I would have a quicker reaction to that news.”
His statements come as he and Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta are actively reaching out to Jackson to rework his contract.
However, Jackson seems content to play out this season and see what the market holds in store for him.
There are numerous reports saying that the Ravens want to engage Jackson in extension talks but that he’s ignoring their phone calls, including this one from Global Circulate.
“The Baltimore Ravens want to extend Lamar Jackson, but he is not returning their calls.”
Jackson is a former Heisman Trophy winner, NFL MVP, and Pro Bowler who’s in the prime of his career.
His record as a starting quarterback is a sterling 37-12, and he’s thrown for 84 touchdowns compared to 31 interceptions.
He’s also rushed for an additional 21 touchdowns and over 3,500 yards.
He has led the Ravens to numerous playoff runs but has little to show for it with a record of 1-3.
Jackson is also working hard to recover from a bone bruise injury that sidelined him for the final six games of the 2021 season, but this minor injury shouldn’t factor into contract talks.
Jackson is regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in the league.
To say that the record-setting deal that Watson just received complicates matters for Baltimore is an understatement.
Adding to the complications is the fact that Baltimore has been burned before after giving a monster contract to a quarterback.
The memory of Joe Flacco likely still burns in the minds of Baltimore’s front office and could contribute to their hesitancy to give Jackson a massive contract extension.