Lamar Jackson Becomes Highest-Paid Player in NFL History

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have reportedly agreed to a five-year, $260 million extension, making the 2019 MVP and two-time Pro Bowl quarterback the highest-paid player in NFL history.

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport released the news on Thursday, April 27th, just a few hours before the start of the 2023 NFL Draft.

The long-lasting standoff between Jackson and the Ravens’ front office has finally come to an end, and the 26-year-old is set to earn $52 million annually through the 2028 season with a total of $185 million fully guaranteed. Lamar Jackson’s annual salary is the highest of all time in the National Football League.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts had previously set the record on Monday, April 17th with his five-year, $255 million contract extension that offers $51 million on average each year. It is believed that Hurts’ new deal got the ball rolling, as the Baltimore Ravens immediately felt pressure to step up and provide an even better offer to their franchise quarterback.

In addition, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner now boasts the second-largest contract in league history, trailing only Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his 10-year, $450 million deal reached in July 2020.

Although Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson still holds the record with his $230 million fully guaranteed contract, Lamar Jackson’s new deal includes the third largest amount of guaranteed money in NFL history (trailing only Watson and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray).

Seven-time Super Bowl champion and three-time league MVP Tom Brady took to Twitter to congratulate the Pompano Beach native and hint at his unlimited potential and bright prospects going forward.

The former University of Louisville football star’s future in Baltimore looked bleak after it was revealed that he had requested a trade from the team on March 2nd because the Ravens had “not been interested in meeting [his] value.”

Nevertheless, an agreement was eventually reached. Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens can now turn their focus back toward their ultimate goal: winning a Super Bowl.

The Ravens have a 45-16 overall record with Lamar Jackson as their starting quarterback. They have reached the playoffs in four of his first five seasons on the team, with the only exception being 2021 in which Baltimore dropped their final five regular season matchups with Jackson unavailable due to an ankle injury.

While the Baltimore Ravens have just one playoff win since the 2018 first-round pick took over as the team’s starter, this has largely been the result of an unprecedented string of injuries over the last few seasons. Lamar Jackson, running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, wide receiver Rashod Bateman, and countless others have missed significant time for the team in 2021 and 2022.

However, the future appears to be bright for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. The team has made an effort to start surrounding their star quarterback with elite offensive weapons, signing three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a one-year deal and using their 2023 NFL Draft first-round pick to add an electric playmaker in Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers.

It has also been reported that the Baltimore Ravens are currently in talks with the Arizona Cardinals to trade for 3x first-team All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Overall, Ravens fans have good reason to be optimistic about the years ahead, and it will be exciting to see what Lamar Jackson can accomplish in the 2023 NFL season with a healthy team and all this new talent at his disposal.