John Harbaugh put an end to wild speculation that the Ravens could look to move on from 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson.
The Baltimore coach said Tuesday the franchise will pick up the fifth-year option on the star quarterback’s contract for 2022 by Monday’s deadline.
“Guarantee it,” Harbaugh said on “The Rich Eisen Show.” “He’s definitely going to be our quarterback. That’s the plan, absolutely.”
NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks laid out a scenario last week that the Ravens could decline the option and allow Jackson to “graduate” to free agency after this season, while trading up to select a quarterback such as Ohio State’s Justin Fields or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance in Thursday’s first round of the NFL Draft.
Jackson’s $1.7 million salary this season will balloon to $23.1 million in 2022 once the option is exercised, while the sides can continue to negotiate a whopping nine-figure extension.
The 24-year-old Jackson has posted 30 regular-season wins since assuming the starting job midway through his rookie season in 2018, the most in the NFL over that span. He also is the only player in league history to throw for more than 5,000 yards and run for more than 2,500 during his first three seasons, including an NFL record for a quarterback with 1,206 rushing yards in 2019. Baltimore also has scored an NFL-high 999 points over the past two seasons.
“I feel like it all points to one thing and the thing he talks about all the time: He wants to win a Super Bowl,” Harbaugh said of Jackson. “I think he’s a very unique guy. He’s a guy that’s different in a lot of ways than any quarterback that’s ever played.
“Lamar is somebody that just kind of breaks the mold a little bit. He does it in a way that a lot of people didn’t anticipate. They didn’t see this coming. He’s very determined, and we’re very determined, to prove those people wrong.”
The Ravens now have two first-round picks – Nos. 27 and 31 overall — after dealing offensive tackle Orlando Brown to the Chiefs last week.
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