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Lamar Jackson not a victim of collusion | READER COMMENTARY

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson walks off the field after an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

There is no collusion among NFL owners to deny Lamar Jackson a guaranteed contract (”Ravens QB Lamar Jackson rebuts report about September contract offer with cryptic Twitter response,” March 14). The NFL’s compensation system prevents collusion. Each team has a salary cap. Each year almost all the good teams struggle to get under the cap. That means that the Ravens and almost everyone else are trying to get within the salary cap for the coming year.

Calais Campbell cut, Chuck Clark traded, Gus Edwards contract reworked, etc. There is a set amount a money to be paid to the players each year. Whether Lamar gets a fully guaranteed contract or not, the Ravens payroll will be the same. Unlike baseball, where there is no cap, the owners can save money if they can artificially depress salaries. So the more Lamar is guaranteed, the less there is for the rest of the team, and presumably the quality of the rest of the team.


Players such as Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen recognize this and give their owners “team friendly” deals so there is more money for the rest of the team and those players will have a better supporting cast. It’s been reported that Joe Burrow may do the same so the Bengals can retain more of their surrounding talent. These players still get well over $100 million guaranteed, and if they stay healthy and perform, they will get many times more than that.

Lamar is an outstanding talent. He will get over $100 million guaranteed and the chance to get many times more than that. Nevertheless, if the Ravens give him a Deshaun Watson size contract of $250 million guaranteed, and he gets hurt or does not play well, then the Ravens will be terrible for the length of the contract. Even if he stays healthy and performs well, they probably will not have the surrounding talent to compete with teams getting cap-friendly deals from their quarterbacks. Whichever way it goes, or if the Ravens let Lamar go, the Ravens will spend the same amount each year on player salaries.


In this age of short memories, fans should remember what happened to the Ravens after Joe Flacco played lights out for a five-game stretch culminating in a Super Bowl win. The Ravens then made Flacco one of the highest paid players in the league. He was overpaid, and the team had nothing but mediocre years for the life of that contract. Having been burned by the contract, I suspect the Ravens want to avoid making the same mistake twice.

— Lee Saltzberg, Towson

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