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Lamar Jackson's got paid. Now what?

Lamar Jackson. Photo by Joe Glorioso/All-Pro Reels via Flcikr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Joe Glorioso | All-Pro Reels
Lamar Jackson. Photo by Joe Glorioso/All-Pro Reels via Flcikr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

So, what does $260 million get you?

We’re about to find out, now that Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has signed a new contract to remain arguably the most beloved figure in Charm City for at least the next five years. Jackson, who announced his deal Thursday in a social media post, is sitting theoretically atop the heap in the NFL world, where he has become the highest paid player for the moment, pending the next quarterback signing.

But it’s how Jackson and his new contract play in Baltimore that is the most important part of this soap opera.

And make no mistake, the last few months have been a page right out of “Succession” or “Gray’s Anatomy” or name your favorite drama with offers and counteroffers and negotiation, all largely played out of the public view.

That made for a world of speculation and hurt feelings. That’s usually the case in a high-profile, high-stakes negotiation and the Ravens and Jackson will have some fence-mending to do in the near term.

Jackson, who reportedly sought a five-year, fully guaranteed contract, didn’t get that, as only $185 million of the pact is assured.

Yes, I acknowledge the obscenity of such a phrase to folks who deserve so much more than they receive in their respective workplaces, but that’s an argument for another day.

At any rate, the Ravens’ front office and coaches will have to convince Jackson that he has a value above his price tag, that they believe he can guide the franchise to the third Super Bowl title in its history.

Towards that end, general manager Eric DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh have welcomed Todd Monken, a new offensive coordinator, who will direct the Baltimore attack in a pass-friendly direction.

That should showcase Jackson’s ability to throw and take the pressure off him to make things happen by running. The team added celebrated wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and took Boston College’s Zay Flowers in the first round of last week’s collegiate draft, all apparently to make the team more explosive and presumably to make Jackson feel better.

And that’s important, because from all appearances, Jackson’s feelings were bruised in the two years that he and the team negotiated on this deal.

The former unanimous MVP and Heisman Trophy winner reportedly asked for a trade after the season. Money may salve some wounds, but it remains to be seen how much bruising Jackson’s ego took in the process.

But the Ravens aren’t the only party that needs to do some fence mending. Jackson has missed large chunks of the last two seasons with injuries. Many wondered if Jackson sat to protect his financial future, thus placing his needs ahead of the team’s.

In a city that likes its sports heroes to be of the blue collar, always hard at work variety, Jackson’s reputation has taken a bit of a hit and it’s incumbent on him to remove whatever stink remains with the fanbase.

Hall of Fame coach John Madden once said winning is the best deodorant, and that may be the case with Lamar Jackson. Admittedly, he may be asked to work miracles, but Baltimoreans now have 260 million reasons to make the request.

And that’s how I see it for this week. You can reach us via email with your questions and comments at Sports at Large at gmail.com. And follow me on Twitter at Sports at Large.

Until next week, for all of us here, I’m Milton Kent. Thanks for listening and enjoy the games.

Milton Kent hosted the weekly commentary Sports at Large from its creation in 2002 to its finale in July 2013. He has written about sports locally and nationally since 1988, covering the Baltimore Orioles, University of Maryland men's basketball, women's basketball and football, the Washington Wizards, the NBA, men's and women's college basketball and sports media for the Baltimore Sun and AOL Fanhouse. He has covered the World Series, the American and National League Championship Series, the NFL playoffs, the NBA Finals and 17 NCAA men's and women's Final Fours. He currently teaches journalism at Morgan State University.