Mar 14, 2023 - Sports

Why Deshaun Watson's contract is a headache for Ravens

Deshaun Watson holds up his Browns Jersey during a press conference after joining the team.

A $230 million PR nightmare. Photo: Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The historic contract that Deshaun Watson signed with the Browns last offseason has become a headache for one of the team's biggest rivals.

Driving the news: Last week, the Baltimore Ravens announced they were placing a non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson, meaning he can negotiate with other teams — but the Ravens have a right to match any offer.

  • The news comes after Jackson turned down an extension worth approximately $250 million with $133 million fully guaranteed.

Why it matters: Jackson is dead set on a deal similar to Watson's fully guaranteed $230 million contract, which represents the most guaranteed money in NFL history.

The intrigue: Though it was initially thought Watson's deal would raise the stakes for guarantees, it's proving to be an aberration instead.

State of play: Last summer, Kyler Murray signed a $230.5 million contract extension with the Arizona Cardinals with $160 million guaranteed.

The big picture: Like those teams, the Ravens balked at giving a franchise quarterback a fully guaranteed contract, leading to speculation that Jackson's days in Baltimore are numbered.

Of note: On Monday, the Browns restructured Watson's contract to clear cap space, but all $230 million is still guaranteed.

💭 Troy's thought bubble: Whether he's traded or not, it doesn't look like Jackson, or any other quarterback, will get a fully guaranteed contract like Watson's.

  • If Jackson is traded out of the division, it would help the Browns, who have a 3-6 record against the Ravens with Jackson as a starter.
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