It is official!
Well, it’s been official for 25 days now, but it is now publicly official… at least I think it is:
Lamar really could use a publicist who would’ve been able to edit this statement and make it a bit easier to read and understand, but I’m going to assume he doesn’t have a publicist for the same reason he doesn’t have an agent. ‘Cause fuck the system, or something.
It is what it is.
- Why did he wait 25 days to announce his trade demand?
- What does he mean when he says to Baltimore Flock nation and the entire state of Maryland: “you’ll see me again”? When I first read through this, I wondered if that part was almost him saying he’s rescinded his trade request. Does he mean he’ll come back to visit the area from time to time? That he plans to eventually come back and play for the Ravens again? That he’ll be active around the franchise as an old head when he eventually retires? I don’t understand what he meant by that.
- He’s been franchise-tagged. He is now free to negotiate contracts with other teams. He’s like a restricted free agent, from what I understand. Why would he demand a trade? When he demanded a trade, he was on an expiring contract, I don’t even know if it’s possible for him to be traded.
I hate to be too critical on the guy, but he really does need to get himself some real representation. He’s not representing himself very well, and stuff like this probably makes potential suitors out there question his decision-making. Like, how did you think this was a good idea, Lamar?
And I’m not just talking about the tweets. I’m talking about all of this: the refusal to hire an agent, the refusal to hire a publicist, working with this guy Ken Francis who you’re denying is reaching out to teams on your behalf, but then you’re tweeting out advertisements for his products an hour later?
If I’m an NFL team considering signing Lamar Jackson, I’ve got some serious questions about whether he has a good head on his shoulders.
And then he follows it up by admitting to the world that he sat out a WINNABLE PLAYOFF GAME because of his contract:
I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s saying here, although it’s hard to understand because, well let’s be honest here, Lamar isn’t exactly Bill Shakespeare when it comes to stringing words together.
But I’m pretty sure he said he sat out because of money. Then in the next tweet he follows it up with what felt like a perfunctory nod to his injury just to cover his own rear end so it doesn’t seem like it was ALL about the money.
Even though that’s what his teammates were heavily implying back in December and January. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins made some comments that seemed to confirm that it was about the contract, not the knee:
What I really want to know is, what deal was Watkins referring to?
Watkins made it pretty clear that there was a long-term contract offer from the Ravens sitting on the table in front of Lamar, and the Lamar simply refused to sign it.
I want to know the details of that offer.
Was it the 3 years, $133 million contract that Lamar referred to on social media recently?
That’s $44.3 million a year.
That would put him in the top 6 in the league, but also give him the freedom and flexibility of finding himself a new and more lucrative deal in 3 years when he’s 29. It would pay him more than Josh Allen earns per year.
Apparently, according to Chris Mortensen, the deal was even better than that:
Schefter reported that this deal was on the table for him in September of 2022, and that it was actually more like $175 million guaranteed, possibly up to $200 million guaranteed.
“Here’s the deal. This is something that Chris Mortensen and I reported in September. Nothing new,” Schefter said. “We saw the contract back then and it was reviewed and the contract included $133 million guaranteed at signing. Fully guaranteed. Then, essentially, there were injury guarantees that brought it up to $175 million guaranteed for injury. That’s real. It was $168 million—there was another $7 million that is accounted for at a later date that makes it $175 million in guaranteed salary. Then, we mention this springing guarantee of basically $25 million. It would’ve raised it from $175 million to $200 million if he was on the roster on the fifth day of the 2026 league year. So, three years from now, if he’s on the roster, he gets another 25 [million dollars guaranteed].”
And Lamar sat out a playoff game because it wasn’t good enough. Because it wasn’t the Watson deal.
At least that’s the theory I’m operating off of. Because Sammy Watkins confirmed to us that there was an offer made to Lamar prior to the playoffs, and that Lamar could’ve signed it.
And then later Lamar himself confirmed the 3 years, $133 million part of it.
Schefter literally said live on air on ESPN that he saw the contract. He went into great detail, and I don’t think he was just making shit up.
Of course you’re not going to hear this from most of the sports media, because they’ve pretty much all circled the wagons around Lamar—the league is colluding against him, he was really and truly too hurt to play in that playoff game, just give him as much money as he wants without negotiating at all, how dare you suggest that the quarterback with the most rushing yards in a season is a running quarterback! He has a better arm than Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady combined!!!!!!!! etc.
The way so many people in the sports media defend Lamar you’d think they were getting a cut of his new contract.
I don’t know, man. With each passing day, I am more and more convinced that Lamar Jackson is not a guy I’d want to invest in long term.
I discussed it the other week but he’s already cost himself upwards of $50-60 million but not getting a new contract after year three. That’s just poor decision-making on his part.
You’d think that would cause him to wake up, realize he’s made a huge mistake, and hire an agent to get this mess cleaned up as soon as possible. Especially because as a running quarterback his earnings window is narrower than most other quarterbacks. Let’s be real here, he is not going to be an elite quarterback at age 30-31. He might have 2-3 years of high level play remaining.
He needed to lock in a big contract 2 years ago so that he could lock in another big contract around age 28-29. That would’ve maximized his earnings potential. But he’s already fucked that up.
I don’t think he realizes how badly he’s screwing himself over, because I don’t think he even realizes how badly he already has screwed himself over.
If he had any self awareness at all, he would’ve realized that he didn’t know what he was doing and hired himself an agent a long time ago. Right around the time Josh Allen got the big contract and he didn’t. Lamar would’ve realized, “Josh Allen’s agent got him paid after year 3, and I’m still on a rookie deal barely making $7 million a year. I should probably get an agent myself.”
If not in 2021, then Lamar should’ve hired an agent last year after he saw DeShaun Watson get that fully guaranteed contract. It happened on March 20, 2022. Lamar still had a full 5 months to hire an agent and get a new contract before the season started. Shit, he could’ve just gone and hired DeShaun Watson’s agent right then and there! But no. Lamar let another off-season pass without getting a new contract.
In his tweet above talking about sitting out he’s patting himself on the back for not sitting out for the first 12 weeks of the season. But like, dude, what the hell are you talking about?
You’d RATHER sit out of training camp and the first few weeks of the season and then get your contract! If you would’ve done that, then maybe the Ravens would’ve given you what you wanted, or something close to it. The ideal scenario is you hold out of training camp, maybe the first couple weeks of the season, and then the team relents and gives you the deal you’re looking for.
You don’t hold out at the end of the season when your team is going to the playoffs!
Lamar doesn’t know this?
This is why I question the guy’s decision making.
The fact that after 2 years, he cannot see that he desperately needs a professional to come in and clean up this mess he’s made for himself is why I would have serious doubts about making this guy my franchise QB. He’s already cost himself $50-60 million, but more than that, it’s the fact that he doesn’t even realize that he’s screwed this up royally.
Everyone can see it but him!
A few more thoughts:
- Teams are hesitant to engage in serious contract talks with Lamar because they know that if they do indeed come to an agreement with him, the Ravens are just going to match the contract and retain Lamar. Other teams don’t want to do the Ravens’ dirty work for them. The Ravens have signaled that they intend to keep Lamar, and so they’ll match just about any contract he gets.
- But let’s say you do acquire Lamar. You offer him a contract, he accepts it, the Ravens choose not to match. You now have to give up two first round picks, and you’re paying your quarterback $45+ million a year, which cripples you as far as your ability to build up a great roster around your quarterback. It’s a massive price to pay, especially for a quarterback whose stats have been trending in the wrong direction for the past three years—plus is looking more injury prone by the year.
- This is why teams aren’t tripping over themselves to sign him. On top of all this, they probably have some serious concerns about his decision making and maturity because of how badly he has handled this contract situation. They don’t see him as a guy they want to make the franchise quarterback.
- Another reason the market for him is lukewarm: teams are probably waiting until after the draft. Why give up this year’s first round pick when you can wait until after the draft and give up next year’s first round pick, which will probably be a lower draft pick than you have this year? So I do think the market for Lamar could heat up post-draft. Especially for a team like the Colts who have the 4th overall pick.
- Maybe Lamar thinks that by going public with his trade demand, it will make the Ravens less likely to match whatever contract he signs with another team. Do the Ravens really want to retain a player who has publicly said he doesn’t want to play for the Ravens anymore? Maybe, maybe not. I do think this makes it less likely that they match any contract he signs, but I’m not sure how much less likely.
- Does Lamar think the Ravens are the only team out there not willing to offer him a fully guaranteed 5-year contract? He has to know by now that other teams aren’t lining up to offer him that DeShaun Watson contract.
- If Lamar somehow succeeds in making guaranteed contracts the norm in the NFL, like they are in the NBA, what will happen is the contracts will just get shorter. Kind of like how they functionally are now (but not officially). Like how you see a guy signs a contract that’s 5 years, $80 million but only $45 million guaranteed, so it’s really, let’s say, a 3 year $45 million deal. Which means the team can get rid of the guy after three years but they’ll have the option to keep him around for up to 5 if he stays healthy and if he keeps producing at a high level.
- If Lamar gets his wish and it’s guaranteed contracts for everybody in the NFL, it’s not going to turn into a situation where everybody gets 5 years, $80 million fully guaranteed. It’ll be everyone getting just the part that’s guaranteed right now: the 3 years, $45 million part from out example above. NFL teams know how often guys get hurt, they know how short these players’ shelf lives are. They are never going to give these guys guaranteed long term deals when they know the chances of these players actually living up to the value of a long term contract is slim to none, unless you’re like one of the five best quarterbacks in the league. Elite quarterbacks are basically the only players teams commit to long term. You know Mahomes is going to be elite in 5 years. It’s one of the few certainties in the NFL, so you’re willing to commit long term to quarterbacks.
- Other positions, not the case. The best running back in the NFL in the 2027 season likely isn’t even in the league yet. Same with a lot of other positions that have less longevity than QBs. And the guys who are the best at their positions right now might not even be in the league 5 years from now. Or they might be in the league but completely washed up. That’s why they don’t get big, long-term deals typically.
- Think about this: if you had given JJ Watt a fully guaranteed 5 year contract after the 2013 season, it would have technically been a bad investment. We’re talking about arguably the best defensive end of this era who won DPOTY in 2012, 2014 and 2015. If you gave him a fully guaranteed contract after 2013 (so after his third season) then yes, you would’ve seen him win two more DPOTYs in 2014 and 2015, but then the two seasons after that, 2016 and 2017, he played a combined 8 games due to injuries. 8 out of 32 games.
- This is why NFL teams will never hand out these fully guaranteed long term contracts, other than to quarterbacks. And even with quarterbacks, it’ll have a bunch of extra years tacked onto it, with only a certain number of those years guaranteed.
- And Lamar is the last quarterback who teams will be lining up to pay guaranteed money to for the next 5 years. Other than maybe Kyler but Kyler already got a deal. Lamar has missed 10 games over the past two seasons. NFL players don’t get healthier as they age. It’s unlikely that better days are ahead for him. We’ve already gone over his numbers: everything is trending in the wrong direction since he won MVP in 2019. The dude peaked 4 years ago.
There’s a very real chance Lamar sits out the whole 2023 season. He’s not going to get the DeShaun Watson contract, so it’ll eventually hit July 17, and he’ll be offered the franchise tag ($32 million) by Baltimore, at which point he will have two options: accept it and play the season under it, or refuse it and sit out.
And I think he’ll choose to sit out. To him, it’s a slap in the face to play under a one year $32 million contract when everyone knows he’s demanding like 5 year, $230 million fully guaranteed.
So because this has now become a point of pride for him, I think he’ll choose to sit out rather than take the (in his eyes) humiliation of playing under the franchise tag.
Don’t get me wrong, $32 million is a slap in the face for him, especially because Daniel Jones is going to be making $40 million.
But the only reason the Ravens placed the franchise tag on Lamar was because Lamar wouldn’t accept any of the offers the Ravens made to him.
Lamar seems to be taking the position of “DeShaun Watson contract or bust.” The Ravens are not giving him the DeShaun Watson contract. It doesn’t look like any team is willing to do that.
So either Lamar caves and accepts that he’ll never get the DeShaun Watson contract, or he just sits out and doesn’t play football.
In other words, if his position is that he will sit out until someone offers him the Watson contract, he’s never playing football again. Because nobody’s offering him that contract.
Nick Wright on his podcast was talking about Lamar and he brought up LeBron James, and how LeBron should be the model Lamar follows in terms of taking control of your own situation and having your close friends and/or family, who you trust, represent you.
LeBron’s agent is his buddy Rich Paul, who he knows from high school. His business manager is Maverick Carter, who was on LeBron’s team in high school.
LeBron made sure these guys got proper training and were set up right for their respective career paths. LeBron used his connections at Nike to get Maverick Carter an internship there, and it was at Nike that Maverick sort of learned the ropes of the business so that he could eventually manage LeBron’s business empire.
Rich Paul worked for LeBron’s original agent, the famous Leon Rose of the prestigious CAA, all the way up until 2012, when he felt he had learned enough and was ready to start an agency of his own. That’s when he started Klutch, that’s when LeBron left CAA for Klutch, and now Klutch is one of the biggest and most powerful sports agencies in the country.
This is how you do it, Lamar. You have to play the long game like LeBron did.
Lamar has not shown any sort of appreciation for or understanding of the long game.
LeBron and his friends had a master plan, and they executed it over a period of years. Rich Paul went from a dude selling shirts out of the trunk of his car to one of the most powerful agents in sports because he and LeBron and Maverick had a plan.
If you want to keep it all in the family, and only hire people you really, truly trust, you do it like LeBron has done it.
What is Lamar’s master plan here? If he wants to be his own agent, what steps has he taken to learn the business? If his mom is his agent, what steps have the two of them taken to make sure she knows what she’s doing when negotiating with trained professionals?
Obviously there is no plan with Lamar. My hunch is that he was very naive about the way contracts and negotiations work, and thought that the Ravens would just give him whatever he wanted, and he would sign on the dotted line. He figured, “I’m really good at football, they’re definitely going to give me whatever I want.” But obviously he was wrong.
The reason I suspect this is the case is because of the way Lamar talks about his failed negotiations with the Ravens. He talks as if it was incumbent on the Ravens to simply offer him an amazing contract. He does not seem to grasp the fact that it’s on him to force the issue with the team, otherwise they will happily go along paying you out at your rookie contract value. The Ravens would much rather pay Lamar rookie contract money than mega extension money, so why would they make any effort to give Lamar a massive extension unless Lamar forced their hand?
And so I think it’s Lamar’s severely misguided thinking regarding how contracts and negotiations work in the NFL that led him to believe he could be his own agent.
I don’t think Lamar understands the concept of the Ravens having divergent interests from his own when it comes to this contract. The Ravens have to put together a 53 man roster that is capable of winning the Super Bowl under the constraints of a salary cap. Offering a quarterback 5 years and $230 or even $250 million guaranteed is going to make building a Super Bowl roster extremely difficult. A Watson contract for Lamar will cripple the Ravens’ roster-building ability.
And of course it’s even in Lamar’s own best interests for the Ravens to put a good team around him, obviously. But he apparently doesn’t care about that. He just wants that Watson contract and he has no interest in seeing things from the Ravens perspective.
I don’t think Lamar fully grasps the idea that these negotiations are give and take: he’s not going to get everything he wants, and neither are the Ravens. Both sides are going to have to concede on a few things, and neither side is going to be perfectly happy with the deal they arrive at. This is negotiation 101, but it seems like Lamar’s position is: “Give me everything that I want, and nothing less, or no dice.”
It’s like he’s not even negotiating, he’s just demanding.
That’s what I think caused all this. That’s the mindset that got Lamar into this mess: a complete ignorance to the way the NFL–and negotiation in general–truly works. Now he’s in way over his head and he will not admit it. He’s determined not to admit he screwed up—in fact, it seems more important to him than actually making money and getting a contract.
Because Lamar could have a great contract right now if that’s what he wanted. He could’ve had it a while ago. 3 years, $133 million was on the table–he confirmed that to us. And he also confirmed to us that it wasn’t good enough for him, because if it was, he would’ve signed it.
But he doesn’t just want any contract; he wants the Watson contract. And he wants it without having to hire an agent. He wants to be able to say, I got the best contract in NFL history and I did it myself.
I don’t know why he cares about this so much but clearly he does, otherwise he would’ve hired an agent a long time ago.
It’s clearly about more than just money for Lamar. But I don’t really understand why.
Isn’t the objective here to play the game of football and make generational wealth in the process? Who cares if you have to hire an agent to get the big contract. What are you trying to prove here?
If Lamar’s goal is to play football and make generational money in the process, he’s coming very close to failing at both. If he sits out when push comes to shove, then he will not be playing football, and he will not be making generational money.
He’ll be making no money.
In my mind, my overall thought here is, there is absolutely no way this guy just stubbornly refuses to play football unless he gets that Watson contract, and never plays again, and turns down $133+ million just because he wants to prove a point and he wants to get what he feel like he deserves. At a certain point he’ll just realize the Watson contract ain’t happening, tuck his tail between his legs and take the $133 million or whatever it is (poor Lamar). Because obviously $133 million is better than $0.
But it could turn into a slippery slope situation where one thing leads to another and the next thing he knows he’s been out of the league for a year and a half and the offers that were once on the table are no longer on the table–because he’s been out of the league for a year and a half.
It could very well turn into a vicious cycle. He starts out by holding out this year, refusing to play until he gets the Watson contract. Time passes, no Watson contract, his hold out creeps into the regular season, and suddenly we’re in November and Lamar still isn’t playing. He still thinks he can hold out for the Watson contract, but it doesn’t happen. Then a full season passes and Lamar has pulled a Le’Veon Bell; he hasn’t played at all because fuck you and your franchise tag, Ravens.
He then finds himself in the same situation next year, where the Ravens place the tag on him. Teams can franchise a player I believe three times, but if the player holds out and refuses to report, then it actually doesn’t count towards those three years. He has to actually play football under the tag. So if he holds out the Ravens can continue franchising him every year.
So Lamar has been holding out for a year, it’s early 2024, and the contract offers he used to have on the table are no longer on the table for him. It’s less money now, and that pisses him off. He takes that as an insult, rather than a logical reaction to a guy who hasn’t played football since November 2022. He continues to hold out because he’s pissed off that not only has nobody offered him the Watson contract, but now they’re “insulting” him by offering him less and less money.
Even if he gives up on the Watson contract by this point in 2024, he might say, “Okay, I’ll take the $133 million deal that you offered me last year.” But then the Ravens would say, “Well that deal is no longer on the table because you haven’t played football in over a year. We don’t know how good you are anymore.” And then Lamar holds out even more.
It could turn into a 2 year hold out, after which point, teams are like, “Bro, we’ll give you like 1 year, $15 million to prove yourself.” And he’s like, “Damnit, I’m a league MVP. I am not playing for 1 year, $15 million. That’s insulting. GTFO with that nonsense.” So he continues to hold out. And maybe it just gets to a point where the longer he holds out, the more teams reduce their offers to him, the more he gets offended by the lower offers, the more he continues to hold out, the offers go even lower, and then it just keeps going like this until he is effectively no longer in the National Football League.
Do I think this scenario will actually play out? No, I don’t. I think he will eventually just realize that it’s not taking an L to get a contract with up to $200 million guaranteed and more money per year than DeShaun Watson makes. I think Lamar will play in 2023 for the Ravens. He would have to be fantastically stupid to not take this contract offer (however, he might just be).
But I don’t think this scenario I just outlined is so outlandish. I think it’s a possibility, and all that needs to happen is for him to just not back off of his demand for the Watson contract. Because no team is going to cave and give it to him. At least I don’t think so. If his position is that he will not play until he gets the Watson deal, then he will not play, because he ain’t getting the Watson deal.
This dude needs to hire an agent if only to talk some sense into him and say, “Are you out of your mind turning all this money down? Nobody is going to give you the Watson contract. Get it out of your head. Every team in the league thinks the Browns are morons for giving him that deal. It’s not happening. Take this deal that they are offering you and stop being so damn stubborn!”
But of course if Lamar had the self-awareness to do this, then he would’ve already agreed to the deal a long time ago.
And again: the fact that Lamar is demonstrating such poor decision-making skills here is going to work against him when it comes to other teams being interested in signing him. He is literally tanking his own market value because the longer this goes on, and the more he tweets, the more teams will look at him and go, “I don’t know if I want this guy to be the pillar of my franchise.”
People are talking about maybe the Patriots going after Lamar. Are you kidding me? Bill Belichick wouldn’t touch Lamar with a 10 foot pole.
You think Bill Belichick, of all people, is going to look at Lamar and go, “Let’s see, poor decision making, propensity to self-sabotage, declining production over a 3 year period, increasing injury concerns–and he costs me 2 first round picks, AND I have to pay him $250 million over the next 5 years fully guaranteed when he’s probably going to be washed up in 3 years? Where do I sign up!?”
That goes against everything Bill Belichick believes in and everything we know about the way he does business over the past 23 years as the head coach and GM of the Patriots.
Boy, it sure is shocking why more teams aren’t tripping over themselves to sign Lamar!