Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens have been discussing a contract extension for months, even though nothing has been finalized as of yet. While talks are ongoing, Jackson confirmed he wants to be with the Ravens for the rest of his career.
“I would love to be here forever. I love Baltimore. I love the whole organization. I love everybody in the building. But hopefully we’ll be making something happen pretty soon or whenever,” Jackson said on a conference call at Ravens minicamp Wednesday. “Being honest, I’m really focused on the season. I’m focused on trying to win. I’m not really worried about if it gets done this year or next year. I’m just trying to build and stack, and we’re going to see. We don’t know yet.”
If Jackson has a big season, his contract extension will be much higher — along with the leverage that he’ll have based onto the start of his career so far. Jackson has a long list of accomplishments in his first three years, one of the most impressive starts to a career in NFL history.
- Fastest quarterback to reach 30 career victories (37 starts).
- First quarterback in NFL history to have multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons and consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
- Only the second quarterback with consecutive seasons with 25-plus touchdown passes and five-plus rushing touchdowns (Deshaun Watson)
- Fastest quarterback in league history to 5,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards (35 games). First quarterback to have 5,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in his first three seasons.
- Only quarterback to have 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 passing yards in a season (2019).
- Third quarterback in NFL history to have 35-plus touchdown passes and seven-plus rushing touchdowns in a season (Steve Young, Cam Newton were the first two).
- Most games with two-plus passing touchdowns and 50-plus rushing yards in a player’s first three seasons (14).
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The Ravens have improved the wide receiver position this offseason by adding Sammy Watkins in free agency and selecting Rashod Bateman in the first round of the draft. Having more weapons on the outside will help Jackson, but there’s certain aspects of his game he can improve down the road.
“I think the focus for Lamar [Jackson], really like everybody – it depends on your position – is to improve in terms of the fundamentals of the game,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said on the same conference call. “Quarterback, there’s a lot to that. There’s the actual just taking the snap, the footwork on the ball handling, the footwork on the various dropbacks, play-action drop-back passes, movement passes, the mechanics of throwing the ball, the reads, the checks, it’s just endless at that position.
“So, you work all the way across the board on that stuff and try to have the best day you can and try to improve 1%, we say, every single day. That’s a metaphor, obviously, but that’s the goal – to keep getting better, but that goes for every single position. So, we really can’t pinpoint one thing; there are numerous things that you have to be working on all at the same time.”
Jackson will continue to work on his game while the extension looms. Until then, he’s focused on getting the Ravens to the Super bowl in a tough AFC. He’s already found something he can do better.
“I’m going to try to be more of a vocal leader. I always say that, but I’ve got to start presenting it how it should, [how] the guys are wanting me to sometimes,” Jackson said. “But lead by example, work hard. We’re trying not to make mistakes. If we do make a mistake, we’re going to repeat it until it’s right. We’re trying to perfect our craft. We’re trying to be perfect out there, even though some things are not going to be perfect – but we’re trying to make it happen. So, that’s about it – just lead by example.”