Comparatively, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes signed a 10-year $450 million contract in 2020 after he had won a Super Bowl that February and the league Most Valuable Player Award the previous season, but only $141 million of that contract was guaranteed. Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson signed a five-year extension in 2022 with a reported $165 million in guaranteed money.
Jackson made $23 million this season on the last year of his rookie contract after turning down an offer ESPN reported as being worth $250 million, but with less in guaranteed money than Russell and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray had negotiated.
The 2019 M.V.P., Jackson took a significant gamble by playing the 2022 season without a long-term contract agreement because a major injury could have greatly diminished what the Ravens would have offered him after the season.
That risk became a reality in Week 13 when Jackson strained the posterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees, which caused him to miss the remainder of the season. Jackson, who has a 1-3 career record in the postseason, missed the Ravens playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
His absence sparked skepticism from TV analysts, who questioned why Jackson didn’t feel compelled to play through injury, and commentary from at least one teammate, the veteran receiver Sammy Watkins, who wondered publicly if Jackson was putting his contract negotiations over the good of the team.
“He’s had a lot of success early. He won an M.V.P. in his second year. And so you know, with that thought, it’s like, ‘I want top dollar,’” Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, said about Jackson. “And then you look around, and you see what’s going on around you, who getting paid around you, and that becomes a thing in your mind for all the right reasons. You should feel that way, ‘I got more accolades than him, so I should be getting paid more.’”
Jackson has been compared to Vick since he was in college at Louisville because of their elite speed and agility at the quarterback position. And since Jackson has been in the N.F.L., he has proved those comparisons to be sound, breaking Vick’s records for rushing yards in a season, with 1,206 in 2019, and 100-yard rushing games, with 12 through the 2022 season. Vick remembers facing many of the same criticisms of his run-heavy style that Jackson does now and getting similar player support around the league before he signed a contract with the Eagles in 2011 that was reportedly worth $100 million.