It is no secret that elite-level sports stars earn incredible salaries and bonuses, especially in the National Football League (NFL), where the biggest earners enjoy levels of income “normal” people can only dream of. Lamar Jackson is one such top-tier player. In April 2023, Jackson put pen to paper on the most lucrative contract in NFL history, but how much was it worth? Keep reading to find out this and more!
Lamar Jackson’s Early Years and College Career
Jackson was born on January 7, 1997, and raised in Pompano Beach, Florida. Jackson’s family had little money while he was growing up, and their situation was made worse in 2005 when Jackson was only eight when his father and grandmother died on the same day. Such tragedy could send a young child off the rails, but the young Jackson used the pain and sadness to inspire him to become an NFL quarterback.
Jackson’s natural ability shone through while playing high school football for Boynton Beach High School, and he won the Lou Groza Palm Beach County High School Player of the Year in 2014. Several colleges sought Jackson, but he committed to the University of Louisville. Jackson flourished under head coach Bobby Petrino, and people across the United States clambered to use their Mybookie welcome bonus on Jackson, making it big in the NFL.
Across 34 starts for the Louisville Cardinals, Jackson threw 9,043 yards and 69 touchdowns and recorded a passer rating of 142.9. In addition, he rushed for 4,132 yards and scored 50 rushing touchdowns. So-called dual-threat quarterbacks are highly sought after, and he was tipped to be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Lamar Jackson’s Professional Career
The Baltimore Ravens selected Jackson as the 32nd overall pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Jackson signed a four-year rookie contract worth $9.47 million with a $4.97 million signing bonus. He played 16 games during his rookie season, starting seven, with the Ravens going 6-1 when Jackson started on the field.
The Ravens made Jackson their starting quarterback in 2019, which was an excellent decision. Jackson was incredible throughout the season, guiding the Ravens to a 13-2 record during the regular season, and earning the AP NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. During the 2019 campaign, Jackson set an NFL record for most rushing attempts by a quarterback (176) and most rushing yards by a quarterback (1,206).
Jackson signed a fifth-year option on his contract in April 2021, worth a guaranteed $23 million for the 2022 season. During the 2022 season, Jackson turned down a contract extension in September 2023 because he believed he could earn more money. Media reports suggested Jackson turned down a six-year, $250 million offer because “only” $130 million was guaranteed.
After months of negotiations, in April 2023, Jackson signed a five-year contract worth $260 million with $185 million guaranteed. The deal meant Jackson would receive $52 million per year, making him the highest-paid player in NFL history at the time of signing. Jackson repaid the faith shown in him by ending the 2023 regular season with career-best figures in pass completions, completion percentage, passing yards, and yards per passing attempt. The Ravens progressed to the playoffs for the third consecutive year, and are one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl in Las Vegas in February 2024. Jackson’s incredible performances during the regular season have put him on course to win his second NFL MVP award.
Lamar Jackson’s Personal Life
Jackson lives in Owings Mills, Maryland, a town approximately 20 minutes away from the Baltimore Ravens’ training complex. He lives with his mother, brother, and sisters. Jackson has a daughter named Milan, although he calls her by her nickname: “Lani.”
Four of Jackson’s cousins play in the NFL: Trayvon Mullen, Tiawan Mullen, Adoree’ Jackson, and James Pierre.
In 2018, Jackson launched his sportswear line, Era 8 Apparel. Other business ventures include an endorsement deal with Oakley, Inc., and a soul food restaurant in his home state of Florida. Tasty’s Soul Food Sports Bar & Grill in Pompano Beach changed its name to Play Action Soulfood and More.
Lamar Jackson’s Net Worth
Jackson has an estimated net worth of $40 million, although that figure could be substantially higher. The five-year contract Jackson signed in April 2023 is worth $260 million with a $72,500,000 signing bonus. Amazingly, $185 million of Jackson’s contract is guaranteed. The deal was, at the time, the most lucrative contract in NFL history.
NFL players usually employ an agent to help broker deals, but Jackson negotiated his latest Baltimore Ravens contract on his own. By representing himself, Jackson saved approximately $5,500,000 in agent’s fees. Jackson becomes a free agent in 2028, although it is highly probable the Baltimore Ravens will offer him another lucrative extension before his current deal ends. Even if they do not, Jackson will not be short of potential suitors who want him to pull strings for their franchise.
Lamar Jackson Fun Facts
- Jackson is notoriously media-shy and had to undergo special training to enable him to face the media.
- Jackson is rapid and once ran an unofficial 34-second 40-yard dash at college in 2017.
- Jackson attended elementary school with rapper Kodak Black and the pair are still friends to this day.
- NFL scouts had doubts about Jackson’s quarterback abilities as he entered the 2028 NFL Draft, with some suggesting he should switch positions to wide receiver.
Lemar Jackson’s journey from a poor upbringing in an impoverished part of Florida, losing his father and grandfather at eight years old, to becoming a genuine NFL superstar earning $260 million contracts is something you only tend to see in Hollywood movies. Jackson defied the odds through sheer grit and determination and became the NFL’s MVP in 2019, only his second season as a professional football player.
Fast-forward to today, and Jackson has been instrumental in guiding the Baltimore Ravens to the playoffs. It would be fitting if Jackson clinched the second MVP award of his career while guiding the Ravens to their first Super Bowl since 2012 and helping them win their first Super Bowl title in their history.