PALM BEACH, Fla. — Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti acknowledged Tuesday that Deshaun Watson’s record-setting contract could have ripple effects for quarterback deals going forward, including the one for Lamar Jackson.
On March 18, Watson received a five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract from the Cleveland Browns after getting traded by the Houston Texans. That’s $80 million more than the previous NFL record for fully guaranteed money at signing.
Now, the Ravens are looking to negotiate a contract extension with Jackson, who is entering his fifth-year option.
“I’m trying to answer that when I had a reaction to it. And it’s like, ‘Damn, I wish they hadn’t guaranteed the whole contract,'” Bisciotti said Tuesday at the NFL league meetings. “I don’t know that he should’ve been the first guy to get a fully guaranteed contract. To me, that’s something that is groundbreaking, and it’ll make negotiations harder with others.”
Bisciotti then added, “But it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to play that game, you know? We shall see. If I was in bogged-down negotiations with Lamar, then maybe I would have a quicker reaction to that news.”
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta previously said this offseason that the team has reached out to start contract talks with Jackson. But Jackson hasn’t shown any urgency to get a deal done.
If the sides can’t reach a new contract by next offseason, the Ravens would have to place a franchise tag on him to keep him from becoming a free agent.
Bisciotti called Jackson’s decision to wait “unique as hell because everybody expects you to say, ‘I’ve got to get mine now.'”
“The kid is so obsessed with winning a Super Bowl, that I think deep down, he doesn’t think he’s worthy,” Bisciotti said in his first interview with reporters in four years. “I think he wants that to say, ‘Now, I deserve to be on top.’ People can speculate any way they want. I don’t think he is turned on by money that much and he knows it’s coming one way or the other.”
Bisciotti doesn’t foresee Baltimore signing Jackson to a contract extension before the start of the season “unless he has a change of heart and calls Eric and says, ‘I’m ready.'”
“But it’s like, Eric can’t keep calling him and say, ‘Hey Lamar, you really need to get in here and get this thing done.’ That’s not a GM’s job,” Bisciotti said. “Kirk Cousins did it that way. What if Lamar says that? I’ll play on the fifth year, I’ll play on the franchise, I’ll play on another franchise and then you can sign me.
“And that gives me three years to win the Super Bowl so you can make me a $60 million quarterback, because that’s where it will be four years from now. That might be the case, but I don’t talk to Lamar. It’s not my role. I don’t know the answer.”