Richard Sherman has added two others to the list of people who could be responsible for Lamar Jackson’s contract dilemma — but they don’t have anything to do with a franchise’s front office.
In an episode of “The Richard Sherman Podcast” alongside former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, Sherman blamed Chiefs star and MVP Patrick Mahomes and Bills quarterback Josh Allen for redirecting the precedent for quarterbacks to receive fully guaranteed contracts.
“What pissed me off is when Kirk Cousins got his fully guaranteed deal, I thought quarterbacks from then on were gonna be like, ‘If it ain’t guaranteed, I ain’t taking it,’” Sherman said. “Then [Patrick] Mahomes took that B.S. deal — just 10 years and wanted it to look like half a [billion]. But if you get half of that, fully guaranteed, everybody’s happy. That sets precedent.
“But when [Mahomes] didn’t set it, then Josh Allen didn’t set it, now Lamar [Jackson]’s trying to set it after Deshaun [Watson]’s already set it. And they’re like, ‘Nah.’”
It has been a strange offseason for Jackson, the 26-year-old who won the NFL’s MVP award in 2019 as a second-year quarterback.
The Ravens applied the non-exclusive franchise tag to Jackson ahead of the March 7 deadline, which meant that other teams could negotiate with Jackson and Baltimore would have the opportunity to match any offer sheet — receiving compensation if he ultimately departs.
Instead of teams competing for Jackson, though, negotiations have stalled.
Instead of teams publicly saying they’re interested in Jackson, the popular trend has been to communicate the opposite.
And instead of having a long-term contract solidified, Jackson’s NFL future remains unknown.
Kirk Cousins became the first NFL quarterback to sign a fully guaranteed deal when he agreed to a three-year, $84 million contract with the Vikings, and DeShaun Watson signed a five-year, $230 million extension with the Browns after they acquired him in March 2022 that is fully guaranteed.
But the deals negotiated in between — Mahomes and his 10-year contract with the Chiefs, Allen and his six-year extension with the Bills — have veered the discourse for fully guaranteed contracts away from the attention that Sherman believes it deserves.
Jackson also received support from NFL Players Association executive president DeMaurice Smith earlier this month when he ripped NFL owners and their hesitancy toward guaranteed contracts in a post on the NFLPA’s website — noting that owners prefer to avoid those types of deals because “they are better for the players than they are for the owners.”
“A fully guaranteed contract in Jackson’s instance means that all quarterbacks on expiring rookie contracts will (and should anyway) demand them in the next cycle,” Smith wrote in his post. “Make no mistake, what is occurring right now is their effort to block the same cycle that ushered in fully guaranteed contracts in other sports, and it is exactly what we are seeing in the NFL in the aftermath of both the Cousins and Watson contracts.”
Smith also noted this the solution to Jackson’s situation will be important to monitor with other young quarterbacks nearing extensions where they could capitalize on fully guaranteed deals.
Sherman, though, said he’ll be upset if those quarterbacks — specifically Joe Burrow — receive different treatment from owners across the league than Jackson.
“When Burrow’s come up and he asks for the exact same thing, and the same people that’s mad about Lamar ain’t mad, I’m gonna be mad,” Sherman said.