Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson will have the fifth-year team option on his contract picked up, coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday.
“Guarantee it,” Harbaugh said on “The Rich Eisen Show,” effectively halting speculating about Jackson’s future in Baltimore beyond this season.
Under the terms of the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, Jackson would be owed a fully guaranteed $23 million in 2022, more than all but one first-round pick in the 2018 draft class. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen would also receive $23 million next year if his option is picked up; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has not made a Pro Bowl, has already had his option, worth $18.9 million, exercised.
Jackson, who’s entering the fourth year of his rookie contract, would be the fourth Ravens first-round pick to have his option exercised since 2017, following inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, left tackle Ronnie Stanley and cornerback Marlon Humphrey. General manager Eric DeCosta has until May 3 to finalize the move.
Jackson was voted the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2019, but a disappointing third season had led some NFL draft experts to speculate that the Ravens might target a quarterback in the first round Thursday. By adding another talented quarterback, DeCosta would have the opportunity to move on from Jackson before signing him to an historic contract extension. Jackson, due $3 million in 2021, has been one of the NFL’s best bargains since his rookie year, helping the Ravens round out their roster.
Now, he’ll be in Baltimore through at least 2022 — at a significantly higher cost. “He’s definitely going to be our quarterback,” Harbaugh said. “So that’s the plan, absolutely.”