The clock is ticking on the Ravens’ window to negotiate a contract extension with quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson said Wednesday that he is expected to break off talks with Ravens officials on Friday, two days before the team’s opener against the New York Jets.
“As of right now, we’re still talking,” said Jackson, who had previously indicated during the preseason that he was unwilling to negotiate during the offseason. “The week isn’t over yet, but soon.”
Jackson is set to make $23 million this season, the final year of his rookie contract. Contract talks escalated over the summer, but Jackson declined to comment on whether the sides have made progress.
“I have no idea,” Jackson said. “You’ll have to ask the man who I’m talking to. Talk to the GM [general manager Eric DeCosta] About that.”
The deal for the 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player escalated over the summer. After Deshaun Watson received a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract from the Cleveland Browns in March, officials and analysts around the league wondered if Watson’s megadeal would set a precedent for quarterbacks looking for an extension.
It hasn’t happened yet. In July, the Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray agreed to a five-year, $230.5 million extension with $160 million guaranteed over the life of the contract. Last week, the Denver Broncos signed quarterback Russell Wilson to a five-year, $245 million extension, with $165 million guaranteed.
Jackson, who expects Watson’s deal won’t affect his interest, said he’s not at risk of playing out the final year of his contract. If the Ravens can’t agree to a deal by the time Jackson reaches unrestricted free agency next offseason, he is expected to receive the exclusive franchise tag, a one-year deal that guarantees about $45 million.
“I mean, last season, a year ago, it was a big disaster,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking about contract negotiations around that time. This season will be the same thing. But I only play football. Anything can happen, but God forbid, something wrong will happen. I’m waiting on God first and playing ball like I do.
This story will be updated.