The AFC as a whole is full of very good to great quarterbacks. With the addition of Aaron Rodgers to the conference, the biggest question remaining on the opening day of the NFL draft was what would happen between the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson.
With the Philadelphia Eagles agreeing to terms to make Jalen Hurts the highest-paid player in NFL history, per year, the Ravens and Jackson had a new contract to use as a comparison. Previously, the Cleveland Browns giving Deshaun Watson a fully guaranteed deal seemed to be a sticking point.
When Baltimore signed Odell Beckham Jr. to a huge one-year contract, it was reportedly at the behest of Jackson.
With the draft just hours away, all of a sudden the Ravens offered a deal that Jackson was willing to sign as the QB announced on the team’s official Twitter account:
While we do not have any reports of official numbers, it has been reported that Jackson will now usurp Hurts’ deal:
Lamar Jackson's 5-year deal makes him the NFL's highest-paid player, right over Jalen Hurts -- who got a 5-year, $255M deal recently. https://t.co/H2B60tJjrJ— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 27, 2023
While Jackson is unlikely to get his contract fully guaranteed, most quarterbacks get a vast majority of their contracted money or sign new extensions before the original deal is up.
Update: Putting together a few reports, we now have more information on the structure of Jackson’s deal:
Hurts deal:— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) April 27, 2023
$180M total guaranteed
Lamar deal (reported):
$185M total guaranteed https://t.co/bOTVKZfZif
There are now murmurs that Baltimore is not done adding to the team’s weapons for Jackson. Along with his request for Beckham was a request to also trade for DeAndre Hopkins. Now that Jackson’s deal, like Watson’s and most other huge contracts, is likely to have a small cap hit in year one, the Ravens have the space to bring on Hopkins’ salary cap hit.
With Jackson taking the top spot over Huts, Watson now falls to the sixth highest-paid quarterback based on yearly salary. Six quarterbacks have larger total salaries than the Browns quarterback.
The AFC North, with Joe Burrow among the next up for a big deal, will have three highly paid signal callers in the division. The list of top-notch quarterbacks in the AFC as a whole is amazing outside of the North as well:
- Aaron Rodgers
- Patrick Mahomes
- Josh Allen
- Trevor Lawrence
- Justin Herbert
On top of that list is a group of QBs that includes Russell Wilson, Tua Tagovailoa, Jimmy Garoppolo, Mac Jones and Kenny Pickett. The Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans are both expected to address their quarterback needs in the NFL draft, likely tonight.
For Jackson, he gets a huge deal even if he didn’t get the entire contract guaranteed. For Baltimore, they get their quarterback signed before Burrow and Herbert reset the market again. For the Browns, the AFC North and the AFC Conference, the hope of a good quarterback leaving the conference goes out the window.