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Is Daniel Jones’ Contract Extension Disrespectful to Lamar Jackson?

Daniel Jones (left) rolls out to make a throw. Lamar Jackson (right) takes off for a big run against the New England Patriots. Photo courtesy of Al Betto and Brian Fluharty.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones recently signed a four-year, $160 million contract extension with $82 million guaranteed. Meanwhile, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson still has not received an extension, which is starting to raise questions about the treatment of his situation dating back to last offseason.

Jones had his best season in 2022 with 3,205 passing yards and 15 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He also rushed for 708 yards and had seven rushing touchdowns. Jones’ solid season helped the Giants clinch their first playoff berth since 2016, and their Wild Card win against the Minnesota Vikings was their first postseason victory since the 2012 Super Bowl.

Jones improved last year, but some questioned if it justified him earning a salary of $40 million. It was the first season he performed admirably, and even then, it was slightly underwhelming compared to quarterbacks in the same salary margin. The Giants gave Jones an extension on March 7 while franchise tagging running back Saquon Barkley, despite Barkley finishing No. 4 in rushing yards and attempts.

Jones receiving this type of money before Jackson shocked many, including Ravens fan and sophomore journalism major Kyle Alexander.

“I think that Jones getting a deal before Lamar is kind of crazy,” Alexander said. “Jones is still proving himself. He was better last year with bad receivers, but 15 touchdowns doesn’t get you $40 million. If it does, then Lamar needs $60 million.”

Junior Howard University student George Hamilton said he was “not surprised” by this, but did express his belief that Jackson is a better quarterback than Jones.

“Lamar Jackson was a former MVP in 2019 and two-time Pro Bowler,” Hamilton said. “The one blemish on his résumé so far is that he has one playoff win in four appearances, which appears to be the ‘How dare he?’ moment in this contract negotiation saga. This year could be debatable considering he missed the last six games, but he’s done much more than Daniel Jones offensively.”

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The Ravens gave Jackson a non-exclusive franchise tag of $32.4 million on March 7 to test the markets amidst his demands. Teams had chances to match Baltimore’s offer, but a lack of interest was expressed in the Ravens quarterback. Considering Jackson’s accomplishments in his young career, it is shocking that many are not pursuing him. However, Jackson’s demands for a fully guaranteed deal may justify the teams’ lack of inquiries. Hamilton believes Jackson needs an agent going forward to reach a favorable negotiation.

“While the NFLPA is guiding him with his deal, that can only go so far,” Hamilton said. “Especially when he’s asking for a fully guaranteed contract or close to fully guaranteed money. Deshaun Watson received a fully guaranteed contract from the Browns, but they were desperate. They realized what they did with Watson’s contract, and both parties agreed to restructure it to help the Browns free cap space to bring in some players. If Jackson gets what he wants, quarterbacks will demand fully guaranteed contracts soon, and NFL owners don’t want that happening.”

Some may also attribute the lack of offers to Jackson’s injury history, but Alexander brushes off that narrative.

“Yes, it’s alarming when negotiating a fully guaranteed contract, but at the same time, that’s 12 games he’s missed in 5 years,” Alexander said. “Part of protecting him is getting players around him to make his job easier. Injuries are a part of the game, but if you get playmakers around your biggest playmaker, it takes the load off of them.”

Hopefully, Baltimore can reach a deal with Jackson. He is crucial to their success, which was made evident by their 2-8 record the past two seasons without him.

Copy edited by Jadyn Barnett

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