A resurgent Lamar Jackson has the Baltimore Ravens at 7-2, with the 26-year-old contending for his second MVP award.
When Lamar Jackson — perhaps an MVP favorite in 2023 — is in the Baltimore Ravens‘ lineup, good things generally happen. In Jackson’s 70 career regular season starts, Baltimore is a staggering 52-18.
While Jackson didn’t pass or run for a touchdown on Sunday when the Ravens demolished Seattle, 37-3, the 2019 NFL MVP completed 21 of 26 passes to improve his completion percentage to a league-leading 71.5%. The Ravens are now 7-2 and at the season’s midway point, Baltimore has legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. Individually, Jackson is a major contender for his second MVP — +500 right now at FanDuel Sportsbook behind Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts — and has stepped his game up since signing his new five-year, $260 million contract in the offseason.
Here’s how Jackson stacks up statistically. He is:
- Second in the league with just 1.2% of his pass attempts ending in an interception
- Fifth with 7.9 adjusted yards per pass attempt
- Seventh with a 100.8 passer rating
- 10th with a 63 QBR
- Best among all quarterbacks with 440 yards rushing
- Best among all QBs with 19 runs of 10-plus yards
- Fourth in the league and second among QBs with 32 carries that resulted in a first down… though how many of Jalen Hurts’ were tush pushes?
Limited to just 12 regular season starts in each of the last two seasons, the 26-year-old has thus far remained healthy, more than out-playing his $22.15 million cap hit for 2023. It’s been a resurgent season in a number of ways — he’s more efficient, less turnover prone, and is running the ball quite efficiently.
|7.9||Adjusted Yards Per Attempt||7.0|
Baltimore is sixth in the league in points per game thanks to a potent ground game led by Jackson, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill, but also a revamped receiving corps. In addition to reliable tight end Mark Andrews and receiver Rashod Bateman, signing veterans Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor gave Jackson more consistently reliable options to throw to. And first round rookie Zay Flowers has quickly become a top target, leading the team in receptions and ranking fourth among rookie receivers in yards.
Having a player of Flowers’ ability on a rookie contract is especially beneficial for Baltimore, considering Jackson’s scheduled salary spikes to cap hits of $32.4 million in 2024, $43.65 million in 2025, and $74.65 million in 2026 and 2027. It’ll be on Ravens management, led by general manager Eric DeCosta, to keep finding bargain-basement wide receivers, with Beckham, Agholor, and Devin Duvernay hitting free agency and earning raises thanks to Lamar’s help. Edwards will also be a free agent after the season along with key contributors like guard Kevin Zeitler, linebacker Patrick Queen, pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, nose tackle Michael Pierce, and safety Geno Stone.
With Baltimore projected to have the 21st-most salary cap space in free agency, it’ll be even tougher for DeCosta to invest big money in pass catchers for Jackson as his salary grows. But this season, he’s had his Ravens group firing on all cylinders.
Jackson is completing passes at the league’s best rate, running the ball for key first downs, and is turning the ball over at a rate well below league average. Combine that with a defense that’s allowed the fewest points per game and the second fewest yards, and you have a perfect recipe for success in the NFL.
Thanks to good health, better weapons around him, a strong defense, and incremental efficiency improvements, Lamar Jackson is in contention for another MVP and the resurgent Ravens are looking like one of the league’s elite squads as the season’s second half begins.
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