The Baltimore Ravens signed Roquan Smith to a contract extension on Tuesday, but will wait until the offseason to deal with Lamar Jackson.
Roquan Smith has provided a jolt to the Baltimore Ravens defense since they acquired him at the trade deadline for two draft picks. The former Bears first rounder signed a five-year extension with the Ravens on Tuesday, proving he views Baltimore as his long-term home.
Smith’s extension sets an NFL record for his position, as he’ll make $100 million over the next five seasons.
John Harbaugh praised Smith as recently as this weekend, saying the former Georgia Bulldog is one of the best linebackers he’s seen. Smith follows the likes of Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis as Pro Bowl-level linebackers to anchor the middle of Baltimore’s defense.
"“He has been fantastic that way. He’s all about it. He doesn’t worry about what people think; he doesn’t care,” Harbaugh said. “He wants to do the things that are required to be a great player and to be a great unit and then to impact your team. That’s what he’s all about – 100% – [and] that’s what I love about him. He’s one of the top guys I’ve ever seen that way, and I think that does always impact everybody as a leader, for sure. I want all of our guys to lead that way.”"
Will the Ravens extend Lamar Jackson, too?
Lamar Jackson’s contract is more of a mystery. Jackson doesn’t have an agent, which makes negotiating during the season a little more complicated.
Jackson likely wants to be the highest-paid quarterback in football, which would top Deshaun Watson’s contract with the Cleveland Browns. However, that would hamstring Baltimore as they try to build a Super Bowl-caliber team.
The Louisville product has earned his money, and he will get it somewhere. The Ravens rightly have some concern about his availability, as Jackson missed multiple games near the end of the season for the second straight year. Injuries are a part of the game, and not his fault, but it’s something to take into account when signing any player long-term.
A franchise tag could be more likely in this scenario.