Contract extensions don’t need to have specific teams involved to affect others. The New York Jets have learned that through the last two days alone.
Roquan Smith’s five-year, $100 million extension with the Baltimore Ravens may not appear to directly impact New York, but the reality of the situation is that Gang Green is affected in more than one way by this extension.
Whether it’s the linebacker position being increased in value, or the quarterback position, the Ravens’ recent signing affects the Jets in two major ways.
Jets Free Agents on the Roster
Quincy Williams and Kwon Alexander are not going to get a deal similar to Roquan Smith but the latest contract does affect both.
Alexander and Williams are two very good off-ball linebackers that helped the Jets’ defense rank in the top half of the league in most statistical categories. With $15 million in cap space to currently work with, and a long-term extension coming for Quinnen Williams, it’s hard to see the Jets finding a way to keep both, let alone one of them.
Robert Saleh’s defense is predicated on having good off-ball linebackers. The more other players are paid, the harder it will be to keep current ones on the roster.
Speaking of the Jets’ top defensive player. Quinnen Williams wants a new deal, and after putting up over 12 sacks for the first time in his career, it’s easy to see how the defensive tackle could get top billing.
New York will want the 25-year-old locked up for longer than a measly three years which means that Williams’ extension could be well north of $100 million.
Smith and Williams play two different positions and value is predicated based on position, but the impact both players have had is very similar.
Crazy as it may seem, the Smith extension absolutely helps the Jets in their quest for a top quarterback.
With Baltimore extending Smith, the likelihood of them franchise-tagging Lamar Jackson is very high as both parties look to get a long-term extension done. If that’s the case though, Jackson could feasibly hold out of team practices and voluntary workouts. Players don’t like playing on the franchise tag at all and we’ve seen that throughout history.
That would make things easier should the Ravens choose to trade their franchise quarterback.
While this scenario is unlikely, the fact that Baltimore doesn’t have to decide who to franchise tag is a win for the Jets. If and when Lamar gets the tag, it could be a ticking time bomb in Baltimore before they look to trade their star player.
NFL offseasons are tricky and ripe with speculation. We won’t know if the Ravens are actually shopping their franchise quarterback until a deal is actually made. It’s clear though that the focus for Baltimore this offseason will center around Lamar Jackson’s contract status. If they can’t come to an agreement, it could be the perfect opportunity for the New York Jets.