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Lamar Jackson: Against the Odds

Ravens get QB Lamar Jackson for the long term
Ravens get QB Lamar Jackson for the long term 04:31

Lamar Jackson gets a $260 million contract from the Ravens and he gets it without agent representation.  

The most dynamic and elusive quarterback in NFL history pulled off another unexpected move and does so like many other maneuvers in his life and career: against the odds.

Jackson was a youth football and high school legend in South Florida but wasn't highly recruited, even in his home state.  

The University of Louisville offered him a contract and he set records for the Cardinals, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2017.  

But going into the 2018 draft, several NFL analysts and executives questioned whether Jackson's skills would be suitable for him to play QB as a pro. Some suggested he switch to running back.

Jackson and his mom sat in the waiting room on draft night 2018 while 31 other names were called in the first round.  

The Ravens drafted tight end Hayden Hurst with the 25th pick.  

Jackson appeared to fall asleep on his mom's shoulder in the waiting room. Their disappointment was clear.  

The Ravens traded up with Philadelphia to pick Jackson with the 32nd and final pick of the first round.  

Jackson defiantly told Deion Sanders in an interview on the draft stage that the Ravens were going to win a Super Bowl with him a the QB in Baltimore.

Jackson hasn't won a Super Bowl (yet) but was voted unanimous NFL Most Valuable Player after the 2019 season.  

He quickly proved wrong those that doubted he could be a viable pro quarterback. 

He was one of the best ever, certainly the most exciting. 

The 2019 season was Jackson's high point. 

Injury-plagued seasons in 2021 and 2022 led some to begin doubting his value again. 

The Ravens appeared to question Jackson's value when they used the non-exclusive franchise tag on him following the 2022 season.  

The tag allowed other teams to make an offer for Jackson and any offer he received, the Ravens had the right to match.  

No teams made an offer to Lamar Jackson. He requested that the Ravens trade him.

The NFL Players Association accused league owners of colluding to keep Jackson's salary down.  

Network sports pundits suggested Jackson was the victim of racial discrimination. 

Jackson said little other than making his trade request public. He was otherwise quiet. 

The Ravens said little about Lamar other than that they loved him and expected him to be their QB for years to come.

Ravens fans tired of the contract impasse and seemed to divide into camps: those who wanted the Ravens to keep their beloved QB and those who were ready to move on- exhausted by the contract talk and no longer convinced Jackson would lead the team to a Super Bowl.

Give Lamar Jackson credit for doing it his way.  

It's inarguable that his way paid off: $260 million dollars with $185 million guaranteed.  He did it his way and is richly rewarded. 

Next on Jackson's to-do list is his promise to lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl.  At this point, it's difficult to bet against him.

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