USA Today

Lamar Jackson's deadline for striking a long-term contract with the Ravens is fast approaching, and nothing suggests a deal is imminent. That's not because Baltimore hasn't extended an offer to the quarterback. In an effort to lock up the former NFL MVP beyond the 2022 season, the Ravens have already offered Jackson more money than the Cardinals' Kyler Murray got in his new deal, according to Fox Sports. Jackson, meanwhile, may be seeking a fully guaranteed deal a la Deshaun Watson's contract with the Browns.

"It's a really big uphill battle here," Jay Glazer reported ahead of Sunday's Cardinals-Ravens preseason game. "The reason why is because Lamar Jackson ... is representing himself. ... (The) Deshaun Watson deal kind of throws things out of whack, because I'm sure (Jackson) wants a fully guaranteed contract, (and) I don't see (the Ravens) wanting to do that."

CBS Sports contributor Joel Corry, a former NFL agent and cap expert, previously identified Jackson as the most obvious candidate to follow in Watson's footsteps with a fully guaranteed deal. The latter got a five-year, $230 million contract as part of his trade from the Texans to the Browns this spring. Jackson is entering the final year of his rookie deal, due $23M in 2022.

Murray, on the other hand, netted a five-year, $230.5M extension with the Cardinals this summer, but he still had two seasons left on his rookie contract, meaning he'll average less per year than Watson over the life of his deal. Less than half of his total deal ($103M) is fully guaranteed, making him easily expendable to Arizona on the back half of the contract, particularly from 2026-2028.

Considering Jackson, a two-time Pro Bowler with three playoff runs under his belt, has accomplished more than both Murray and Watson as an NFL QB, he's long been expected to command somewhere around -- or in excess of -- Watson's $46M per year in new money.

Both Jackson and the Ravens have publicly expressed their desire to remain together long-term, but Baltimore brass has previously hinted at Jackson being hesitant to engage in negotiations. The QB has represented himself, along with help from his mother, rather than employ a certified NFL agent, since entering the league. He's also unofficially declared the start of the 2022 season his deadline for agreeing to a new deal, with 2023 free agency waiting on the horizon.