OWINGS MILLS — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson won his second MVP award last Thursday and is one of the league’s most dynamic young players at 27.
However, Jackson does not appear in TV commercials the way quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, or the Manning brothers — Peyton and Eli — do. It’s difficult to watch an NFL game without seeing at least one of them — or all four — in a commercial.
Like he does on the field, Jackson has created his own path thus far. He is a successful entrepreneur whose estimated net worth is about $40 million, according to street.com, a financial website that tracks that information.
“The quarterback position in the NFL has become a platform, apart from any other in sports,” said Marty Conway, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University who teaches courses in sports leadership. “First, the NFL has elevated far, far beyond any other sport in the U.S. Athletes like Tom Brady, the Manning brothers, Mahomes, etc. have taken that opportunity and exploited it to another level. Each of those quarterbacks has also had some of their best moments in the playoffs and Super Bowl.
“Thus far, Lamar’s marketing exposures from opportunities which are ‘endemic’ to the game: The cover of Madden, or Oakley visors are two brands that Lamar has partnered with.”
Jackson has been proactive with various business ventures outside football. He owns a soul food restaurant in Florida called “Play Action Soulfood and More.” Jackson filed for the trademark of “You 8 yet?” and has a clothing line called “Era 8 Apparel.”
Jackson also has his own NFL-licensed virtual reality game, called NFL Pro Era, and a label and production company called Lamar Jackson Entertainment.
Forbes designated Jackson as the highest-paid player in the NFL in 2023, and he earned a spot on their 2024 list of “30 Athletes Under 30.”
Jackson also managed to negotiate a five-year, $260 million contract extension with the Ravens in May 2023 without a formal agent. He also has a foundation, Forever Dreamers, which helps underprivileged kids.
He knows his way around a business conference table.
Now, the question is whether more TV endorsements or exposure will follow his success on the field.
“I don’t know that he ‘should or shouldn’t’ have more opportunities, or that anything in particular is holding him back,” Conway said. “He may be most comfortable with marketing opportunities that are more directly connected to his play on the field. Some players are just more comfortable that way.”