Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens Not Close in Contract Extension Talks

Lamar Jackson, Divisional Round - Baltimore Ravens v Buffalo Bills
Lamar Jackson, Divisional Round - Baltimore Ravens v Buffalo Bills / Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens had a disappointing end to their 2020 season with an exit in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. While Jackson wasn't as good in 2020 as his 2019 MVP season, there's no question Baltimore should want to lock him up this offseason. The two sides have begun discussions on a contract extension but are apparently not close to on the same page.

The Boston Globe's Ben Volin is reporting the Ravens and Jackson are "far apart" in extension talks and have been struggling to find common ground. That's not great news for Ravens fans.

Baltimore needs to fix its offense this offseason, and that will be made more difficult by Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Brown's request for a trade. After ranking second in the NFL in total offense and third in yards per play in 2019, the Ravens regressed in 2020 and ranked 19th in total offense and 10th in yards per play. They were dead last in passing offense in 2020 (2,739 yards), as it became clear they needed to get Jackson more weapons on the perimeter.

The focus this offseason shouldn't be on Jackson's contract negotiations, those should be over quickly. He's an MVP who has repeatedly proven his worth to the franchise. He's topped 1,000 yards rushing in both of his seasons as the full-time starter, and while some of his numbers fell off in 2020 he still completed 64.4 percent of his passes and had a quarterback rating of 99.3. He's fine, he just needs help.

The Ravens need another receiver badly. Marquise Brown is a deep threat, but he's not a safety net on the outside for Jackson. Mark Andrews is one of the NFL's better tight ends, but he's not Travis Kelce or George Kittle. There are a ton of good free agent wideouts and the 2021 NFL Draft class is loaded with receiving talent. Baltimore needs to find Jackson help.

The fact that the Ravens and Jackson are nowhere close on a contract extension is mind-boggling. The team should pay him market value and worry about fixing the rest of the roster. Baltimore is a team ready to win now, it doesn't need a contract standoff like the Dallas Cowboys have with Dak Prescott.

Pay Jackson and get him help.