Sports

QB Jackson says he’d love to be Raven ‘forever’

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Lamar Jackson isn’t sure when he will sign a contract extension with the Baltimore Ravens. All the former NFL MVP knows is he wants to remain long term with the organization that drafted him.

“I would love to be here forever,” Jackson said after Wednesday’s offseason practice. “I love Baltimore. I love the whole organization. I love everybody in the building. Hopefully, we’ll be making something happen pretty soon whenever.”

In his first comments about his contract this offseason, Jackson said he spoke with Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta a month or two ago about an extension.

Jackson, 24, is perhaps the best bargain in the NFL. He is scheduled to earn $1.77 million in base salary this season, which ranks 23rd among all quarterbacks. His salary spikes to $23.1 million in 2022, when he enters his fifth-year option and final year under contract.

Jackson’s extension is expected to place him among the highest-paid players in the game. Over the past year, Patrick Mahomes (an average of $45 million per season) and Dak Prescott ($40 million per year) signed the two richest deals for quarterbacks.

Neither Jackson nor the Ravens have put a timetable on when a new deal could get struck.

“I’m really focused on the season, and I’m focused on trying to win,” Jackson said. “I’m not really worried about if it gets done this year or next year. We’re going to see. We don’t know yet.”

This is the first year in which the top quarterbacks of the 2018 draft class — Jackson, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield — can negotiate an extension. Unlike those other quarterbacks, Jackson has never had an agent.

Asked whether he will represent himself on this blockbuster deal, Jackson said, “Maybe. We’ll see.”

Selected with the last pick of the first round three years ago, Jackson has won more games (30) than any other NFL quarterback since taking over as Baltimore’s starter midway through the 2018 season, and in 2019 he became the second unanimous league MVP. He is the first player in NFL history to produce 5,000 yards passing and 2,500 yards rushing in his first three seasons.

Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, one of Jackson’s best friends on the team, said contract talks aren’t really discussed.

“I think the most we talk about is the Super Bowl,” Brown said. “I’m pretty sure that Lamar wants to stay here. The Ravens want him here. If we win a Super Bowl, everybody can stay here.”

In April, DeCosta said the team would work “tirelessly” after the draft to get a new deal done with Jackson.

“At some point, hopefully, we’ll have some good news for everybody,” the GM said last month

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