It’s time for Ravens to take new strategy in Lamar Jackson contract negotiations

INDIANAPOLIS — Baltimore Ravens common supervisor Eric DeCosta is a religious baseball fan. A Taunton, Mass., native, DeCosta is an ardent Boston Red Sox supporter. However, DeCosta research how different MLB organizations deal with their enterprise. too.

As he continues to take care of the contract stalemate involving his star quarterback Lamar Jackson, DeCosta is perhaps greatest served to comply with the lead of the overall supervisor of his favourite workforce’s greatest rival.

Last April, after his workforce initially failed to succeed in an settlement with Aaron Judge on a long-term contract extension by the self-imposed Opening Day deadline, New York Yankees common supervisor Brian Cashman took the weird step of saying the group’s $213.5 million supply to the star outfielder.

Cashman stated he did it for “transparency purposes,” and since the supply was sure to get out anyway. It, nonetheless, was simple to see the transfer for what it was: a negotiating tactic aimed to indicate followers the trouble the group made to signal Judge whereas placing the onus on the participant for turning down an exorbitant sum of money.

Judge later instructed that he was upset Cashman went public with the phrases of the supply and felt it was an try by the group to show the followers and the media towards him. But that didn’t cease him from signing a nine-year, $360 million extension with the Yankees in December. Piles of cash are likely to consolation arduous emotions.

High-level negotiations are tough. They can produce rancor and resentment. But ultimately, the decision normally comes down to 2 questions: Does the participant wish to be there? And is the workforce giving the participant the extent of compensation he desires?

To this level, on the subject of the Ravens and their head-scratching contract standoff with Jackson, the reply to the primary query is: We suppose so. Jackson has stated publicly at totally different factors that he desires to spend his complete profession in Baltimore, and it isn’t clear whether or not that has modified. The reply to the second query is clearly no. If the Ravens had made the supply Jackson desires, this complete ordeal, which has turned off followers and examined the persistence of each the participant and the group, can be lengthy over.

Except right here we nonetheless are, and Jackson’s standing is likely one of the greatest tales at this week’s NFL Scouting Combine. It threatens to have a major influence on the workforce’s free-agent plans in a few weeks and on the workforce’s draft plans in practically two months. Here we’re with virtually each day experiences that paint an image of two sides which might be pulling away from one another fairly than coming nearer, and revealing numbers and details that appear to alter relying on whom you ask, whom you imagine or when you find yourself studying them.


Lamar Jackson will likely be scorching matter at NFL mix, however Ravens have loads to do

Here we are attempting to infer which means from Jackson’s social media posts and debating a seemingly infinite sport of he stated, she stated. Here we’re with the Ravens ready this week the place they virtually must line up potential commerce companions for Jackson in case the contract thaw doesn’t relent, as a result of the quarterback enjoying this season on the tag isn’t a very good possibility for anyone — no matter what the Ravens are saying publicly.

This can’t be what the Ravens and Jackson had in thoughts.

The Ravens’ decision-makers have principally stayed above the fray and never added to the noise past DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh singing Jackson’s praises and expressing confidence {that a} deal will get accomplished. That’s the Ravens means. They don’t negotiate by way of the media. It was much more vital than a typical negotiation to DeCosta that issues keep quiet and there have been no leaks, just because he’s dealing instantly with Jackson, who doesn’t have an agent.

Details getting out on the Ravens’ finish have the potential to be seen as a breach of belief to Jackson, who doesn’t belief simply, and solely make delicate contract talks tougher.

Earlier this offseason, DeCosta truly pointed on the NFL Players Association for leaking a number of the particulars in regards to the contract talks.

But it’s honest to ask the place this cloak of secrecy has gotten the Ravens. It doesn’t seem to have gotten them any nearer to a long-term contract extension forward of Tuesday’s closing of the two-week franchise tag window. It hasn’t stopped the general public notion that they could possibly be mishandling contract negotiations with one of many sport’s brightest stars. It hasn’t halted the hypothesis and experiences about what they provided Jackson and what they’ve and haven’t been prepared to do.


What we’re following on the NFL Scouting Combine: It’s all in regards to the quarterbacks

When ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith goes on tv final week to say that any individual from “Jackson’s camp” reached out to him and two of Smith’s fundamental takeaways have been that the Ravens could also be lowballing Jackson and didn’t attempt to combine him into their offensive coordinator search — the previous is determined by your notion and the latter is patently false — that isn’t serving to the group’s status.

The Ravens didn’t reply. Maybe it’s time they did. When DeCosta and Harbaugh meet with the media Wednesday afternoon on the Indiana Convention Center, you possibly can most likely count on them to repeat the speaking factors from their end-of-season information convention in January. Jackson is their man, they’ll most likely say. They’re nonetheless optimistic about getting a deal accomplished, and if they’ll’t, they nonetheless have the franchise tag at their disposal.

But why cease there? Why not present somewhat extra info on the Ravens’ affords to Jackson? And even if you happen to don’t go full Cashman mode, not less than paint a clearer image. Why not push again somewhat bit on the notion that the Ravens are “disrespecting” the face of their franchise with below-market contract affords? Why not reply the claims that the Ravens didn’t combine Jackson within the offensive coordinator search and haven’t stored him within the loop on different organizational choices?

Surely, you run the chance of offending or irritating Jackson, however the place has dealing with the scenario with child gloves gotten you? Yes, offering details about your contract supply might assist different groups if Jackson will get the non-exclusive franchise tag and has a chance to discipline exterior contract affords. But does it even matter? There are not any secrets and techniques within the NFL, and the kind of deal Jackson has been on the lookout for is well-documented.

Look, DeCosta is an especially robust spot. Negotiating the largest deal in workforce historical past instantly together with your franchise quarterback is an unenviable job. By all accounts, Jackson has been as elusive in negotiations as he’s been within the open discipline. DeCosta has to take care of a robust relationship with Jackson whereas understanding the absolute best deal.

Anybody who doesn’t perceive how tough it might be for the Ravens to commerce Jackson, whatever the degree of the affords, ought to take a stroll across the metropolis on “Purple Friday” and observe what number of No. 8 jerseys they see. Jackson’s reputation is immense, and buying and selling the face of the franchise — and probably the most beloved athlete within the metropolis — isn’t simple to start with. And that’s earlier than the Ravens even ponder the duty of discovering a worthy successor to a 26-year-old former unanimous MVP in his prime.

But even earlier than you get to that call, DeCosta’s job is to guard the group — and the group is presently taking hits from a notion standpoint. It is perhaps time for the Ravens to begin punching again.

(Photo: G Fiume / Getty Images)

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