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Ravens will give Lamar Jackson contract extension 'when he's ready'

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Ravens will give Lamar Jackson contract extension 'when he's ready'
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is expected to play on his fifth-year rookie option in 2022. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

March 30 (UPI) -- The Baltimore Ravens will give Lamar Jackson a contract extension when he is "ready," but the quarterback could play on the franchise tag before he gets a new deal, team owner Steve Bisciotti told reporters.

Bisciotti spoke about the status of Jackson's contract negotiations Tuesday at the NFL's annual meeting at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla. Earlier this off-season, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said the team reached out to Jackson to start negotiations for a new contract.

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"Unless he [Jackson] has a change of heart, calls Eric and says 'I'm ready,''' Bisciotti said. "Eric can't keep calling him and going, 'Hey Lamar, you really need to get in here and get this thing done.' It's not a general manager's job."

Jackson, 25, is entering the final season of his rookie pact. The 2019 NFL MVP will play the 2022 season on a $23 million option, the ninth-highest salary for a quarterback.

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Jackson, the No. 32 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, completed 64.4% of his throws for 2,882 yards, 16 scores and 13 interceptions in 12 games last season. He also ran for 767 yards and two scores in 2021 en route to his second Pro Bowl selection.

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Bisciotti said he does not expect Jackson to sign a contract extension before the season. Jackson is one of the few players in the NFL who does not employ an agent to negotiate on his behalf.

"What if Lamar says ... I'll play on the fifth year [option], I'll play on the franchise, I'll play on another franchise and then you can sign me," Bisciotti said.

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Bisciotti said that Jackson is "obsessed" with winning a Super Bowl and doesn't think he is "turned on by money that much." Jackson owns a 37-12 record as a starter in the regular season. He is 1-3 in four playoff starts. The Ravens missed the postseason in 2021-22.

"Without a quarterback you believe in, life [stinks] as an NFL owner and as a fan base," Bisciotti said. "We appreciate him. All I know is that his teammates love him. The front office loves him. So it's like, you just keep doing you, Lamar, and we'll make it work."

Bisciotti also announced Tuesday that they signed head coach John Harbaugh to a three-year contract extension. He is now under contract through the 2025 season.

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