Running the Numbers: Lamar Jackson Contract

I'll keep the introduction short. I decided to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard, but that doesn't sound as cool), and do a deep dive on what the Lamar Jackson contract would actually mean for a team's cap. I hear a lot of conjecture about $50 million a year, and how unaffordable he is, but lets be honest here, that is all just numbers plucked from the air. What would a fully guaranteed $250 million dollar contract actually look like for a 26 year old former NFL MVP? Well here is your answer.

All results are coming from the Sportrac Contract Builder website. HERE.

Lamar Jackson: 7 years, 100% guaranteed contract @ $250 million w/ $7 million being an annual Sign-on Bonus being paid evenly for the first 5 years of the contract, and then turned into a Roster Bonus for the last 2 years of the contract.

Year 1: Base= 34,314,285.71 Sign-on Bonus=1,400,000

Year 2: Base= 34,314,285.71 Sign-on Bonus=1,400,000

Year 3: Base= 34,314,285.71 Sign-on Bonus=1,400,000

Year 4: Base= 34,314,285.71 Sign-on Bonus=1,400,000

Year 5: Base= 34,314,285.71 Sign-on Bonus=1,400,000

Year 6: Base= 34,314,285.71 Roster Bonus=1,400,000

Year 7: Base= 34,314,285.71 Roster Bonus=1,400,000

Annual Contract Cap Hit= $35,714,286.71

Year 1 Annual Contract Salary- $35,714,286.71/2023 NFL Salary Cap- $224,800,000= 15.9%

Meaning Total Annual Salary Cap hit of Lamar Jacksons 7 year fully guaranteed $250 million contract would be around 15% of total salary, and it would decrease over time with the increased salary cap and consistent cap hit.

Salary cap adjustment between 2022 and 2023 was 9.6%. If that same exact jump happened in 2023-2024, then next years salary cap would be $248,216,667.

Year 2 Annual Contract Salary- $35,714, 286.71/2024 NFL Salary Cap- $248,216,667= 14.4%

Top 5 Contract Percentage of Salary Cap for Current QB's in the NFL (link HERE):

Aaron Rogers: 24.83% ($50,271,667)

Russell Wilson: 23.96% ($48,517,647)

Kyler Murray: 22.77% ($46,100,000)

Deshaun Watson: 22.72% ($46,000,000)

Patrick Mahomes: 22.22% (45,000,000)

Closest contract to the proposed amount for Lamar Jackson would be the Kirk Cousins contract:

Kirk Cousins: $35,000,000 - 17.28% (of 2022 cap, 15.7% of 2023 cap)

If both contracts held in 2023 (Cousins is in a contract year so it might not be), then they would rank #9 and #10 in cap percentage taken by a QB.

For me, paying Lamar Jackson the same as Kirk Cousins annually is not only fair, it is one heck of a deal. Putting his cap hit at 9th highest would be steep, but still plenty of room to work with for free agents, internal contract negotiations, and draft picks. I hope this drives home the point, that a cap hit is all in how you structure it.

Now, what about the draft picks we would be giving up? Well, first of all you are not giving up anything other than potential. Giving up a potential superstar is a tough pill to swallow, but giving up a future bust is not nearly as bad. So, ultimately losing out on potential for a known commodity is a good deal. The only way it would be a bust is if it didn't work out through the length of the contract. Which is a real possibility, but considering Jackson's track record, it is a bet worth taking to me. Now, what about the financial cost of the draft pick?

Savings for first round picks?= ~$4,200,000

That ~$4.2 million savings would actually go towards helping sign free agents to surround Jackson with, and assist with the continued team building. There is a silver lining to missing out on the first round draft pick. Plus, we would still have 8 picks in the 2023 draft class to play with (possibly more). So it would not mean a drastic decrease in talent infusion from college. Simply one overall player for 3 years, and we get to pocket the cost savings from the signing on draft day, so it would help our finances on the front end. As long as we balanced the contract well and Lamar Jackson played out his contract in decent shape, we would ultimately come away with both a top 5-10 QB and a team built around him. The best of both worlds.

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>