Lamar Jackson contract projection: Kyler Murray’s pact sets up ideal deal for Ravens QB

Lamar Jackson was smart to be patient about getting his new contract with the Ravens thanks to the Cardinals speeding up the schedule for Kyler Murray’s renewal.

Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in 2019, agreed to a five-year, $230.5 million deal in late July. Last August, Josh Allen, the 2018 No. 7 overall pick, was handed a six-year contract by the Bills worth up to $258 million.

That bodes well for Jackson, who went 25 picks behind Allen for 32nd overall three years ago and, unlike Murray and Allen, has a league MVP award to his credit.

Murray’s contract averages $46.1 million per season while he received $104.3 million out of his $160 million guaranteed at signing. Allen stands at $43 million a season and had a $100 million guarantee from $150 million at signing.

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Given the news of Murray’s signing to reflect the current market values ​​of top NFL QBs, he’s offering Jackson a more accurate floor on average annual salary and guaranteed money than his classmate Allen.

In terms of years and total contract value, Patrick Mahomes tops the list with his unique $450 million 10-year pact with the Chiefs. Aaron Rodgers, Jackson’s successor with back-to-back MVP honors for the Packers, is the untouchable for now for the $50.271 million median annual salary. Deshaun Watson is the guaranteed-money runaway with his $230 million from the Browns on a contingent deal.

Allen and Murray are under contract through the 2028 season. The next QBs in line for similar mega deals would be the Bengals’ Joe Burrow and the Chargers’ Justin Herbert next summer. It’s only taken them two seasons each to prove they’re longtime elite passers for their franchises.

Like Allen and Murray before Jackson, Burrow and Herbert will reset the young QB market and bring average annual salaries closer to Rodgers’ figure.

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Allen and Murray got their massive raises ahead of their fourth season. This will also happen to Burrow and Herbert in 2023. Jackson pushing his expansion back well into year 4 works well for him.

There’s no doubt that Murray’s camp saw Allen’s deal and wanted to time it so that he could be on a free agent at the same time. That’s because unlike Allen with Jackson and Burrow with Herbert, Murray doesn’t have a high second contract in his 2019 draft class since the Giants are yet to sign Daniel Jones.

Lamar Jackson contract projection

When trying to figure out the right parameters for his contract, Jackson cannot operate on the assumption that either Burrow or Herbert, or both, will sign by 2029 and become free agents in 2030.

With Murray on a contract a year shorter than Allen’s, it makes sense for Jackson to sign a four-year deal, around when Murray and Allen will be looking for updated, market-worthy, restructured deals.

Based on the Allen-to-Murray jump and using four years, there are reasonable benchmarks for the key numbers in Jackson’s deal: average annual salary and virtually guaranteed money.

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Jackson then looks at what appears to be a four-year, $198 million deal ($49.5 million per season) and bounces off what Murray was guaranteed at least $170 million.

From Jackson’s and the Ravens’ perspective, these parameters make the most sense for a mutual agreement. Sometimes more lucrative things come to those who wait.

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