Josh Allen And Lamar Jackson Were In The Same Draft Class… But Their Career Earnings Are Radically Different

The 2018 NFL Draft featured five quarterbacks taken in the first round. Only two of those quarterbacks remain with the team that drafted them. The Buffalo Bills selected Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick, while the Baltimore Ravens used the 32nd pick on Lamar Jackson.

There are certainly some similarities between the quarterbacks. They’ve both made two Pro Bowl teams. They’re both mobile quarterbacks, averaging a collective 752 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns per season. Neither one has reached the Super Bowl yet.

Of course, there are some differences between the quarterbacks. The NFL named Jackson its MVP in 2019. Allen seems quite content in Buffalo; Jackson asked the Ravens to trade him last month. And perhaps the most staggering difference: Allen has made $85 million in his career, while Jackson has earned $33 million.

Here’s how the two have deviated so much financially.

Josh Allen (L) and Lamar Jackson (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

NFL players don’t have much control over their rookie contracts, thanks to the league rules. As the seventh pick, Allen signed a four-year, $21 million deal. At pick No. 32, Jackson scored a four-year, $9.47 million contract.

The players continued to grow and improve in their sophomore seasons. In 2020, they each won their first playoff games—Jackson and the Ravens reached the AFC Divisional Round, while Allen and the Bills made the AFC Championship Game.

During the 2021 offseason, the paths of the two quarterbacks diverged. The Bills exercised Allen’s fifth-year option, then agreed to a six-year extension worth up to $258 million with $150 million guaranteed. Meanwhile, the Ravens also exercised Jackson’s fifth-year option, though the two sides have been unable to come to an agreement on a long-term deal. Jackson reportedly turned down an offer that included $133 million in guarantees and was worth $49 million per year in average new money.

Jackson, alongside his mother, Felicia Jones, has chosen to represent himself in contract negotiations. He made $23.2 million in 2022, and the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson for 2023. If another team doesn’t extend an offer, Jackson will make $29.7 million this season.

To this point in his career, Jackson has bet on himself. He’s continuing to do so in hopes of scoring a major deal. He may never catch Allen, but if he gets a lucrative long-term deal, that won’t matter in the end.

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