An unprecedented situation continues to unfold in Baltimore. And while that term sometimes gets overused, it’s entirely accurate in this case.
The Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson are trying to work out what would be a market-level, long-term deal. Jackson is proceeding without an agent. And while it’s his right to do so, the fact that he’s not represented has become one of the main reasons why a deal isn’t done.
For deals like this, the agent and the front office are in constant communication about the complexities and nuances of the contract. With Jackson getting ready for the first game of the regular season, that can’t happen.
And while there’s currently no reason to think Jackson will suddenly decide to hire an agent, Jackson has communicated (directly or through an intermediary) to one or more agents in recent days. Per multiple league sources, Jackson and/or someone assisting Jackson has spoken with at least one agent. However, as of now, Jackson has no plans to hire an agent.
He desperately needs an agent. If not an agent, he needs someone who can explain in objective, dispassionate terms the pros and cons and the costs and benefits of not taking the best offer the Ravens have made or will make.
The Ravens have in recent years paid significant contracts to multiple key players. There’s no reason to think that the Ravens are being stingy or unreasonable.
Ultimately, the question is whether Jackson is comfortable playing for $23 million this year with no guarantees beyond 2022, or whether he’ll take the best offer the Ravens will currently make. He needs someone who can give him sage and prudent advice. Often, agents will make their final determination and assessment based on the advice they’d give their son. Jackson needs someone with knowledge of the market dynamics, an understanding of all the risks Jackson is taking, and the ability to make sure he understands the potential downside of the bet he may be making on himself.
Fans and media love it when a player bets on himself, in large part because it’s not our money that’s at risk. For Jackson, there’s a chance he never gets the long-term deal that Ravens would currently give him. It’s important that he understands what he can get now, what he can get later, and the various ways it can all go sideways if he enters the season without a long-term contract. The best person to do that will be a competent and experienced agent.