Lamar Jackson, the star quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, just signed the richest contract in NFL history. And perhaps even more impressively, Lamar negotiated the deal on his own, without an agent.
The deal was reached after quite a bit of back and forth and ups and downs between Jackson and the Ravens. In September 2022, Lamar turned down a 6-year, $250 million deal that came with $130 million guaranteed and would have paid an average annual salary of $41 million.
In March Lamar publicly requested over social media to be traded.
In mid-April, Jalen Hurts signed what was then the largest contract in NFL history, a $255 million five-year deal that will pay an average of $51 million per year.
Lamar’s patience paid off. His new contract is a $260 million, five-year deal that pays an average annual salary of $52 million and has $185 million guaranteed. It’s the richest contract in NFL history.
That guarantee could prove to be important, especially since Jackson has cultivated a reputation for putting his body on the line over the course of his on-field performance. There’s also a question of how much of his guarantee is guaranteed even with an injury. There’s speculation that the true guarantee number with injury is closer to $130-140 million, precisely because of Lamar’s aggressive playing style.
Interestingly, Lamar negotiated his record-setting deal with the Ravens directly, forgoing the standard use of an agent. By leaving off an agent Lamar saved himself a 3% fee. Looking just at the $185 million guaranteed portion, Lamar saved himself $5.5 million. That’s $1.1 million per year in savings, $91,000 per month, $3,000 per day.
And while some may call that a wise and impressive move, sports business reporter Darren Rovell took to Twitter to express some antipathy towards the idea that Jackson might have saved himself money by going it alone:
“The narrative will be that Lamar Jackson saved himself money by not going to an agent. OK, $5.5 million on $185 million saved.
“Who is to say an agent wouldn’t have gotten him $215 million that would have netted him $208 million after fees?”
Whatever the behind-the-scenes details of the contract may be, Jackson is now the NFL’s highest paid player and on a per-year basis the highest paid to ever play in the league.