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Ravens TE Mark Andrews jokingly offers paycheck to keep Lamar Jackson 'a Raven for life'

Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews have connected on a lot of passes since both were drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2018. And if the tight end has his way, that'll continue for the foreseeable future.

Jackson and the Ravens currently remain locked in contract extension negotiations — the most recent rumor from ESPN's Jeremy Fowler is that both sides are so far apart the team will likely place the exclusive franchise tag on him. Despite all that, Andrews says Jackson will inevitably stay in Baltimore.

"I think Lamar is a Raven for life," Andrews told Pro Football Talk on Tuesday. "I know that the organization — they want Lamar. And I know he has a lot of respect for the organization as well. So I think both parties want to get this deal done. It's just about doing it.

Andrews then — either seriously or anecdotally — offered his paycheck to make up whatever difference exists between Jackson and the Ravens. For reference, Andrews signed a four-year, $56 million deal in 2021.

Mark Andrews badly wants Lamar Jackson to stay with the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Mark Andrews badly wants Lamar Jackson to stay with the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Where Jackson and Ravens stand

The details of Jackson's negotiations with the Ravens are publicly unclear, but an AFC executive told Fowler that "it could become a standoff" between the two sides because "they will be so far apart in the guaranteed money" — as much as $100 million, per Fowler.

By placing the exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, the Ravens would give themselves more time this summer to negotiate a new deal, push talks for another year or find a trade partner for Jackson.

None of those options are imminent, but Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta told reporters during the team's end-of-season news conference in mid-January he thinks Jackson wants to stay with the team. A week later, DeCosta said Jackson deserves a new deal and that DeCosta plans to keep Jackson with the team for "many, many years."

Other Ravens players have publicly called for the team to keep Jackson as well. Defensive end Calais Campbell said Baltimore "can't let a guy like him go" because "you know who Lamar Jackson is." Left tackle Ronnie Stanley believes Jackson will ultimately stay because "this is his team, and this is his offense. The money is not the most important thing with Lamar. He really wants to win, contrary to popular belief."

There are concerns with keeping Jackson. For one, he hasn't been healthy at the end of the past two seasons. Jackson missed five of the Ravens' final eight games of the 2021 season, including the final four games of the season with an ankle injury, as well as the final six games of the 2022 season that included the wild-card round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jackson will also likely command one of the biggest quarterback contracts in the league when all is said and done. The Ravens can thank the Cleveland Browns for that one after handing Deshaun Watson a fully guaranteed $230 million deal in 2022. That's a lot of money to give to a quarterback, even one who is only a few years removed from winning MVP.

There is still a lot of time to get a deal done, though, and Andrews hopes the end result leaves him with his quarterback still under center in Baltimore.