On the first Sunday of the regular season, ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen reported that Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had rejected a contract offer that would have paid him $133 million fully guaranteed upon signing. Most recently, ESPN analyst Ryan Clark reported the same.
Here is what we said in September, since it is still relevant: “The reporting has some shortcomings which make it impossible to fully assess the offer. What would have been the cash flow of the first year? What part of the contract would have been guaranteed in the event of injury? How much of the injury benefit would have been converted to full benefit in March 2023 because there’s no way they’d cut it after just a year considering what they would have paid him in 2022 ? »
It is impossible to fully assess a transaction without knowing its full value. Every payout, every guarantee, every vesting deadline, every incentive, every escalator, every de-escalation, every practice bonus, every roster bonus, every option bonus, every roster bonus per game and any other device per which the money would flow from team to play.
That’s also irrelevant at this point. Circumstances have changed. Jackson’s rookie contract is up. He ended the season with an injury that caused him to miss more than a few games, for the second consecutive year.
Plus, other long-term, big-money quarterback deals (like those given to Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray) may have become cautionary tales.
Will the Ravens make the same offer now? Will they offer more? Will they offer less?
Are they just letting Lamar test the market under the non-exclusive franchise label? Would they match someone else’s offer? Would they be willing to take a pair of first-round picks instead? Would they trade it for anything less than two?
These are the important questions now. Hearing again (and probably again) that he was offered $133 million fully guaranteed to sign means nothing in isolation, and it means even less given the passage of time.
Thus, unless Lamar or the NFL Players Association or the Ravens are willing to disclose the full contents of any offer that has been made, it is impossible for anyone to call an offer good or bad, fair or unfair, satisfactory or unsatisfactory. While that doesn’t stop people from reporting incomplete facts about the negotiations, past or present, those viewing the news should remember that there’s no way to judge the complete deal without knowing (spoiler alert ) the complete agreement.