44 Comments

I think it's pretty simple. What makes Lamar good is also what's going to get him hurt. And the last couple years have already shown that. Because of that, nobody wants to make a long-term commitment.

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How can you write that whole thing and not discuss the biggest issue teams are looking at when considering this oft-injured player? HE WANTS $250 FULLY GUARANTEED!

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I don’t entirely understand why we are calling this “collusion.” That is, I think the NFLPA as a union should be pushing for fully guaranteed contracts, but it doesn’t take a secret cabal of owners discussing that they don’t want to set a precedent; everyone was pretty open about their frustration with Jimmy Haslam signing DeShaun Watson to that long deal.

I suspect that if some owner thought that a fully guaranteed contract for Jackson would earn him a Super Bowl, it would happen, and never mind the blowback.

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Mar 8, 2023·edited Mar 8, 2023

As more of a baseball fan, seeing NFL contracts is kind of crazy. Just this offseason multiple players were signed to $300 million, 10+ year contracts, all of which is guaranteed. While I'm no expert on sports economics, I'm guessing this is partly due to the lack of salary caps in MLB and partly due to the fact that the MLB player's union is much stronger. Still, it always surprises me how NFL contracts are smaller (even at a higher AAV) for a league that is more popular.

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I'm a Browns season ticket holder, so I'm very much enjoying one of my biggest rivals be the media circus, especially given that my team is generally the circus. I'll be the first to make jokes about Lamar being a running back, but that's more to get a reaction out of people than anything.

To me Lamar is in that second tier of QB: not the best in the league, but still an above average starter and one that could take you far with the right pieces around him. He is extremely talented and has a skillset that rarely translates to the pro game. You have to build the offense around his talent, given his weakness as a traditional passer, but you make up for it by his incredible shiftiness and ability to make plays with the feet. But his injuries are concerning, and if he won't be able to make it to the postseason consistently that has to be taken into account.

How much is he worth? I have no earthly idea. Danny Jones just got a 4year, 160 million if that's any indication, and I'd take Jackson over Jones in a heartbeat. If nothing else I certainly take a small amount of amusement that the Watson contract might have reset the QB market and caused this, given Lamar is apparently asking for a fully guaranteed contract. Whether or not the Browns chucked a quarter billion into a fire remains to be seen, but in the short term it might be giving the Ravens, and soon the Bengals, headaches in locking down the franchise guy.

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I just wish people would stop comparing him to Vick. Vick had an absolute cannon for an arm, and was much better in the pocket than Lamar. Jackson overthrows Mark Andrews so much that I swear he’s cost Andrews at least 10 million in his next contract. That said, if Daniel Jones got 40 mill, Jackson should get at least 45. The market is the market.

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The owners are pissed the Browns gave Watson that $250 million guaranteed contract, and they're trying to hold the line. That said, I'd sign Jackson in a heartbeat.

More sports takes. Thanks, FdB.

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The main thing is that running QBs almost inevitably run less as they age. A Lamar that doesn't run a lot isn't that attractive.

Don't ask me to explain Daniel Jones's contract.

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Mar 8, 2023·edited Mar 8, 2023

The problem is Jackson is often a C and occasionally an A+. He's only 26 so, in theory, he could become more consistent but he is also at risk of missing big chunks of time due to injury and, unless he becomes a much more accurate passer, he'll lose value as he begins to run less. He is also wildly exciting to watch when he is healthy and that has created a perception of him that exceeds his actual output.

In other circumstances, we've seen the same type of unrealistic valuations for other quarterbacks after their celebrity and/or name recognition exceeded their football performance (recently Colin Kaepernick, Tim Tebow, Eli Manning, going back further, Doug Flutie, and even further, Joe Namath).

And, it would absolutely be the Patriot way to target an undervalued player in hopes of a big payoff. Look at the free agent contracts for Revis, Seau, Harrison, Gilmore and the trades for Moss, Dillon, Welker, and Talib. Those players were at the heart of the super bowl teams. They even traded for Belichick rather than signing a lesser coach.

The Pats rarely give top dollar contracts to big free agents but they absolutely go after players who are deemed risks and therefore can be had for a better deal.

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founding

Fair and interesting analysis.

I'm a Jets fan.

I dislike Aaron Rogers as a person. But I think i can put that bias aside and still be more excited about Jackson as a Jet than Rogers.

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I'm not sure I'd sign him if I were the GM of an NFL team but after getting burned by him a couple of times in fantasy football, I have no plans on drafting him again unless I can get him much later than he usually goes in the draft. He's way too unreliable.

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I mostly agree with everything you wrote. As a Ravens fan who's watched many games, I have more feelings than facts/stats. The Ravens' offense has been slowly getting worse since 2019 and it's hard to separate Lamar's play from that. We do see that when he's injured the Ravens have a *much* harder time winning. To me that's a huge plus for Lamar, to the extent that I view stats as essentially approximations of a player's ability to win. But there's no doubt that he has been missing reads and passes that he used to make. This sometimes happens to QBs who've been clobbered too many times, their internal timers go off too early. Those QBs tend to get a little worse every year as they fade from starters to backups. But I don't think the Ravens feel that way about Jackson, I think their only hesitation is the injury issue. In SF when the starting QB gets injured the backup turns out to be the best QB in the league, all the way down to the 4th stringer/Mr. Irrelevant. For the Ravens and most other teams, when QB1 goes down the season is often lost right there.

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Thank you for writing about this and not ESPN's manufactured "does Jokic win MVP because voters are racist?" nontroversy.

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I don’t think it’s a race thing. Mahomes got paid. Hurts will be getting a bag. Russ is all set (on a brutal deal for Denver based on early returns). He’s asking for the very top of the top tier in money and term, and he’s not at the very top of the top tier of the pecking order. When you then add in recent regression, and the style/durability concerns others have noted, that’s a significant risk even for a high ceiling player. And you also have to consider, at this point, that you may have actually seen his ceiling already.

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I don’t know what the larger subscriber-base thinks, but if you wrote more about sports,

I certainly wouldn’t complain.

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I agree with your assessment of Lamar’s ability, but to me that suggests that teams lining up to explain they aren’t interested is perfectly rational, not some backroom deal. If I’m the Falcons or the Panthers, I don’t think Lamar at QB is enough to let me compete for a title this year. What I would have to do to get him ($35 million+ this year plus two first rounders for a one year rental before he wants $250 mln guaranteed over the next 5) would, in a world with salary caps and mandatory rookie deals, destroy my ability to upgrade the team around him to get a contender. Unless the only piece you’re missing is a QB and you’ve got great cap space, this isn’t a good deal.

The real culprit though is the rookie contract system. It makes draft capital much more valuable (which is why the owners got sneaky and built the mandatory first round picks into the nonexclusive franchise tag to limit negotiating power) while at the same time limiting the ability of veterans to be paid a market rate when they have to compete against artificially cheap drafted talent. This doesn’t even touch how grossly unfair it is to prevent players from earning their market worth for their first four years in a league where the average career length is three years. I sincerely hope the NFLPA has learned what a mistake this was, but I never see coverage of this specifically in the media, so I’m not optimistic.

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