If it seemed silly when NFL scouts were wondering if Lamar Jackson's talents could translate to the NFL at the time, it seems exponentially more ridiculous now after his 2019 season.
Just a couple of years after some analysts publicly debated whether Jackson should switch positions to wide receiver or running back, he is the frontrunner to win NFL MVP — as quarterback. He led the 2019 Ravens to the best record in the league and the No. 1 seed in the AFC. And with the Brady and Belichick Patriots eliminated, he has a strong chance to make the Super Bowl. All this, and he just turned 23.
In just the beginning stages of his NFL career, how much is the Ravens' superstar quarterback worth?
Lamar Jackson's Net Worth
Lamar Jackson was estimated by Celebrity Net Worth to be worth $4 million. How realistic is that figure? Jackson is just 23 with two years in the NFL, with not much in the way of endorsements yet. But according to Spotrac, nearly $5 million of his rookie contract was converted into a signing bonus he received in his rookie year. So it's certainly possible.
Lamar Jackson's Career
Jackson's greatness was predicted by many from an early age, as a four-star recruit coming out of high school. Ultimately he decided to play college ball at Louisville, and got the chance to play early on.
Jackson was never redshirted, and in fact started eight games for Louisville in his true freshman season in 2015 (appearing in 12 games overall that year). There were certainly bumps along the way in this season, as Jackson threw 12 touchdowns to eight interceptions, but the potential was immediately apparent. Jackson also contributed 960 rushing yards for the Cardinals.
Jackson and Louisville played well enough in 2015 to make the Music City Bowl against Texas A&M, and it was here that Jackson emerged as a must-watch talent. Starting at QB, Jackson threw two touchdown passes and had two rushing touchdowns, including a 61-yard rush. He had an astonishing 226 rushing yards in the 27-21 victory, the clear choice for game MVP.
Getting the opportunity to start from day one in 2016, Jackson proved nearly unstoppable at first. Louisville started 9-1 as Jackson not only slashed through defenses as a runner but improved dramatically as a passer. In those first 10 games, Jackson had 27 touchdown passes against just six interceptions. However, the Cardinals and Jackson faded down the stretch, including a three-interception performance in a loss against Kentucky and a poor outing against Louisiana State in the Citrus Bowl, which they lost 29-9.
Still, Jackson's overall performance that season was one for the ages. In addition to throwing 30 touchdown passes, he rushed for 1,571 yards with 21 rushing touchdowns. For his remarkable season, he was voted the winner of the 2016 Heisman Trophy.
In his junior season, Jackson managed to actually put up some career-highs, besting some of the stats of his Heisman season like passing and rushing yards. Prior to bowl season, Jackson had 25 touchdown passes and six interceptions and was again a Heisman finalist (ultimately losing to Baker Mayfield). Louisville again made a bowl, the TaxSlayer Bowl against Mississippi State. But they fell 31-27, as Jackson threw four interceptions.
Still, with little left to prove in college, Jackson declared for the NFL draft after his junior year.
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens
Despite his phenomenal college career, Jackson was the fifth quarterback drafted in the 2018 NFL draft behind Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen. And he nearly fell out of the first round entirely before the Baltimore Ravens, who had already used their existing first round pick to draft tight end Hayden Hurst, traded up to get the final pick of the first round to draft Jackson.
The plan for his rookie season was for Jackson to be the back-up to Joe Flacco. But even in Flacco's starts Jackson would make appearances, either at the end of blowout victories or as a rushing option. But midway through the 2018 season, the Ravens' hot start had given way to an inconsistent offense and a three-game losing streak. After nine weeks, with the Ravens at 4-5, head coach John Harbaugh announced that Jackson would start the next game.
Jackson's first start for Baltimore led to a win against the Bengals where he passed for 150 yards and rushed for 119. Jackson would not relinquish the starting role for the rest of the season. With him at quarterback, the Ravens won five of his first six games, needing to win their final game against the Browns to win the AFC North and make the playoffs. Jackson passed for 179 yards and rushed for 90 with two touchdowns, and the Ravens defeated the Browns 26-24 to make it.
Jackson had provided a spark to get the Ravens to the playoffs, but in the playoffs against the Los Angeles Chargers Jackson struggled mightily to start. He threw an interception and fumbled three times, losing one. His late touchdown passes weren't enough, and the team lost 23-17.
When the 2019 season began, Jackson opened with a statement. In the Ravens' opener against the Miami Dolphins, Lamar Jackson dominated not as a rusher, but as a passer with 324 passing yards and five touchdowns with a perfect passer rating — all in just a few quarters, as the Ravens took him out before the game was over in a 59-10 blowout.
It was easy to write off this performance at first — the Dolphins started a disastrous 0-7, and he combined for five interceptions in weeks four and five against Cleveland and Pittsburgh. He would throw just one interception the rest of the season. The following week he gashed through the Cincinnati defense, and did the same to Seattle a week later. Then he faced the Patriots, at the time undefeated and riding a historically good defensive start, and made them look human. Passing for one touchdown and rushing for two more, Jackson's Ravens handed New England their first loss of the year.
Lamar kept up this momentum the rest of the season, and after the week five loss to the Browns, the Ravens went undefeated. For the season, Jackson rushed for 1,206 yards. Not only was that sixth in the league ahead of running backs with significantly more rush attempts, but it surpassed Michael Vick's 2006 season to become the single-season high for rushing yards by a quarterback. Combine this with over 3,000 passing yards and a league-leading 36 touchdown passes (with just six interceptions), and Jackson became a major frontrunner for MVP, surpassing names like Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Lamar Jackson's Contract: How Much Does He Make?
Jackson is still in his rookie contract, a four-year deal which, thanks to his first-round draft selection, has an option for a fifth year.
The deal, paying $9.47 million over four years, is halfway through and Jackson has made over half of it, thanks to the $4.97 million signing bonus (his "salary" for the Ravens has been a fraction of that, $480,000 in his first season and over $910,000 in his second season).
Lamar Jackson's Endorsements
After this season, Jackson will have no shortage of offers for endorsement deals from major brands. But they have yet to come calling. An MVP award would certainly change that, but even if he doesn't win one expect his endorsement deals — and net worth — to skyrocket.
What Jackson does currently have, though, is his own line of apparel: Era 8.