NFL scouts, coaches, and front office personnel from every team have been in Indianapolis for 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Baltimore Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh had media availability on Wednesday and predictably, the name of quarterback Lamar Jackson was brought up a lot.
Harbaugh was asked if he’s been in contact with Jackson since the end of the season, to which he revealed that he texts the signal caller back and fourth here and there. He also called Jackson “my guy” and “my quarterback”, saying that he loves him.
I think it is now getting worse for the Ravens because Rashod Bateman– Eric DeCosta makes this comment– and I’m going to paraphrase here, but he’s talking about the evaluation of wide receivers. And he basically says– and I’m pretty close to the quote here– if I knew the secret to that in terms of evaluating wide receivers in the draft, I would probably have better receivers. The second you hear that quote, you’re like, that’s going to resonate. There’s some guys that are not going to be thrilled about that.
Well, Rashod Bateman, first-round pick in 2021 out of Minnesota, wide receiver, has had some injury issues there, was not happy with it. So he quotes that tweet, quote tweets about it, and basically just rips DeCosta and says, I’m tired of you blaming the wide receivers and 8, number 8, Lamar Jackson. So he literally claps back on the GM and inserts Lamar Jackson’s name into the clapback, which I think is a big deal, because it shows you there’s this coalescing of– there’s a group inside there. They’re forming against the Ravens’ management.
If Campbell, who has been in the NFL for so long, and is a leader so many is saying this, this will be spread around the locker room. If the Baltimore Ravens do not sign Jackson, it will show that even if they want to stay, the Ravens will move on the second they can.
That is not how you get team-friendly extensions done, and it is not the type of stuff you want to see before free agents make life-changing decisions.
On the flip side, maybe you pay a few million dollars more for Lamar Jackson than you thought. The goodwill could save you a million here and there for deals with other free agents and extension candidates. They do this because they want to stay with the team that takes care of their own.
DeCosta said he met with Jackson recently and that it’s “an ongoing discussion.” He acknowledged that this negotiation is tougher than others because Jackson doesn’t have an agent and is representing himself.
“Lamar’s throwing ideas to me [and] I’m throwing ideas to him,” DeCosta said. “We have to appreciate the position of the other person, we have to respect the other person’s position and where they’re coming from and we have to be willing to consider that this might be really important to them. And if it is, what are we willing to give up, basically, in exchange for something that’s really important to you? So it’s a negotiation, but it has to be a good faith negotiation based on trust, respect and listening to the other person. Otherwise, it won’t work.”
The Ravens aren’t going to doubt what Jackson brings to the organization, as they are 45-16 in his 61 starts since Jackson entered the league in 2018. They average 28.0 points per game when Jackson is on the field compared to 20.0 when Jackson misses games. Jackson is one of six players in NFL history to reach 100-plus passing touchdowns and 4,000-plus rushing yards in a career, and the fastest to reach the mark by 31 games. The Ravens are averaging 184.8 rushing yards per game with Jackson as a starter in his career — the most by any starting quarterback since the 1970 merger.
Baltimore wants Jackson signed to a long-term deal. They want to make sure he remains with the franchise.
“You can’t win in this league without a strong quarterback; that’s been proven. So, we want Lamar here,” DeCosta said. “We think he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He’s certainly one of our best players, and we want him back. So, we understand that.
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