OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Less than a week before the season opener, quarterback Lamar Jackson threw passes on the practice field Monday for the Baltimore Ravens, showing again that he is focused on playing for the Ravens this season despite not having an extension of the contract.
After Monday’s practice, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked if there had been any discussion that Jackson would sit out the season without a new deal.
“No,” Harbaugh said before adding, “Lamar said he’s focused on the season, he’s under contract and he’s going to have the best season he can have. He’s hoping to get a new contract and we’re hoping to get him a new contract. All that’s left is business. Nothing but coming to an agreement.”
Jackson missed voluntary workouts this spring for the first time in his five-year career, but the former NFL MVP reported on time for training camp and didn’t miss a practice all summer.
Harbaugh did not know if talks between the Ravens and Jackson have been suspended. Last month, Jackson said Week 1 would be the cutoff point in negotiations until the end of the regular season.
“I don’t have any updates,” Harbaugh said. “My interactions with Lamar have been all about football. He’s focused and locked into that, 100 percent, from a football standpoint.”
Jackson is one of the few players in the NFL who does not have an agent and represents himself. He is expected to speak to reporters on Wednesday.
Neither Jackson nor Ravens officials have ever hinted at any animosity in the negotiations, which is why Harbaugh said you don’t hear about “conflicting reports.”
“He’s hoping to get a new contract; we’re hoping to get him a new contract,” Harbaugh said. “But all the rest of it is business. There’s nothing other than coming to something that’s mutually agreeable. That’s the way that all of these deals are done. So, obviously, I’m very hopeful, and I know everyone is really hopeful to finish it.”
In March, Deshaun Watson reset the quarterback market when he signed a record-setting five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract. Shortly after, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti acknowledged that Watson’s deal was complicating future negotiations with quarterbacks.
The two franchise quarterbacks most recently signed to deals since — Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson — both received less guaranteed money than Watson. Murray received $189.5 million guaranteed in July, and Wilson earned $165 million guaranteed on Thursday.
Jackson is playing on his fifth-year option, which will pay him $23.016 million this season. If the sides can’t come to a new agreement by next March, Baltimore would have to place the franchise tag on Jackson to prevent him from becoming a free agent. Jackson will receive $45 million under the exclusive tag.
“Being around him here and also being beside him in the locker room, he’s calm, cool and collected,” offensive tackle Morgan Moses said of how Jackson handled contract talks. “There’s no better feeling than seeing your quarterback come out every day and be ready to work.”
With Jackson, the Ravens have high expectations entering the season. Outside linebacker Justin Houston is even guaranteed a Super Bowl win.
“I’m a big believer that the power of the tongue speaks of life and death,” said Houston, who is entering his 12th NFL season. “So, we’re going to get that ring this year. I’m tired of hoping and wishing we’re gong to get it. I’m going to speak it into existence.”