Ravens lining up contingency plans as contract standoff with Lamar Jackson continues

INDIANAPOLIS — Eric DeCosta just lately met with Lamar Jackson to debate the star quarterback’s contract, and the Ravens basic supervisor exited the negotiating session optimistic about reaching an settlement on a long-term deal. Yet, DeCosta acknowledged there are key deadlines looming and each side acknowledge the “urgency of the situation.”

The remaining day of the two-week franchise window is Tuesday and the Ravens will apply both the unique or non-exclusive tag on Jackson — DeCosta insists that call hasn’t been made but — if an settlement on a long-term deal hasn’t been reached. Teams can formally begin speaking to free brokers on March 13.

“We’ve got four, five or six different plans based on what happens over the next 10 days,” head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged in a information convention Wednesday on the NFL Scouting Combine.

Predictably, the vast majority of DeCosta’s information convention, together with a gathering with Ravens beat reporters afterward, targeted on the group’s contract standoff with Jackson. DeCosta stayed on model, declining to debate whether or not Jackson’s need for a totally assured deal is the holdup, acknowledging the challenges of negotiating instantly with the quarterback and sustaining the main focus is on extending Jackson and never buying and selling him.


Ravens GM desires to have deal performed with Jackson earlier than tag deadline

That hasn’t stopped the hypothesis on the mix this week that the Ravens would take into account buying and selling Jackson in the event that they get a robust provide.

“We’ve probably made more trades than just about any other team in the league. Maybe we’re second. That being said, I covet great players. I covet quarterbacks. I covet great players. And I love Lamar,” DeCosta mentioned. “So that has not factored in one time with me. We want to do what’s best for the club. We’re trying to do what we can for Lamar. We want to make everybody happy. We want to make the Ravens happy. I want to make (owner Steve Bisciotti) happy. I want to make Lamar happy. I want to make our fans happy.”

DeCosta appears to grasp that he’s operating out of time to finish a stalemate that’s been happening for months. If the franchise tag for Jackson is added to the group’s payroll — it will be $32.4 million for the non-exclusive tag and roughly $45 million for the franchise tag — it’s going to make it extraordinarily powerful for the Ravens to make any vital exterior additions other than the draft. They’ll additionally possible have to chop plenty of key veterans to even be cap compliant.

There can also be the matter of needing time to enact Plan B for Jackson if it turns into clear that an settlement can’t be reached, and the Ravens will both should commerce the 26-year-old or put together for the prospects of him sitting out for a lot of the offseason/coaching camp whereas first-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken is putting in a brand new offense.

“It is a time frame, however, it’s also a time frame that isn’t necessarily a hard time frame, meaning we can continue to negotiate,” DeCosta mentioned. “By franchising Lamar, that doesn’t exclude us getting a long-term deal performed. That’s been performed 1,000 instances within the league. So, sure, there’s a timeframe, however the timeframe does transfer, albeit now there are some completely different dynamics concerned. I don’t need to stay in a world the place there’s no optimism, the place I’m simply going to surrender hope. You guys see me throughout video games and, typically, I’m in a darkish place on the finish of a sport once I know there’s no hope, we’ve misplaced the sport. I don’t see that right here, and I gained’t really feel that. I’ll by no means see that right here.

“I refuse that because I’ve seen a lot of deals happen when things look bleak or I haven’t seen deals when I would’ve thought, oh, it’s a slam dunk. It takes two people to do it, it takes communication, it takes respect, it takes appreciation for each other and it takes an understanding of the greater good and how this thing is going to fit together. I remain positive. I have no reason not to remain positive. We’ve spoken recently, we’ve had good meetings recently, and so, we’ll see what happens.”


Zrebiec: It’s time for Ravens to take new method in Lamar Jackson contract negotiations

At some level quickly, although, the optimism from DeCosta and Harbaugh must be accompanied by some optimistic steps within the negotiations. While DeCosta maintained that current negotiations with Jackson have been productive, he acknowledges that the Ravens will likely be challenged till there’s an precise settlement. Until there’s some price and roster certainty with Jackson, it’s going to be awfully laborious for the opposite items to fall in behind the quarterback.

“It is a wrench,” DeCosta mentioned. “We don’t know, and so, yeah, it slows you up a little bit. It does kind of create a little bit of a haze as to what the future’s going to look like with your roster. There are some things that we’re not going to do right now that maybe we would try to do. But there’s no bigger question right now, and no bigger decision — there’s no bigger challenge for this organization moving forward than this contract. So all of my effort — well, most of my effort — is focused on this. I would say the rest of it is focused on the draft and free agency. But you’re right: It’s hard to really have a clear vision of what the future’s going to look like until we can get this contract done.”

DeCosta historically deflects or is noncommittal about roster questions whereas on the mix, as a result of he’s targeted on evaluating the draft class on the league’s greatest pre-draft showcase. Therefore, it was telling Wednesday that DeCosta acknowledged his greatest precedence from Indianapolis is “being engaged with Lamar.”

The course of has clearly been difficult at instances for DeCosta, particularly after contract talks broke down final June. Jackson knowledgeable group officers that he wasn’t fascinated about negotiating for the primary half of final season. When he took an interest, the Ravens couldn’t bridge the hole and get near his asking worth.

It’s been extensively believed that Jackson is in search of a totally assured pact, just like the five-year, $230 million deal the Browns signed quarterback Deshaun Watson to final offseason. Bisciotti made clear final March that he didn’t consider Watson ought to get that sort of deal and it wouldn’t essentially impression the group’s method to making an attempt to increase Jackson.

Twelve months later, they nonetheless don’t have a take care of Jackson and the contract standoff stays one of many greatest tales within the NFL.


Zrebiec: Questions about Lamar Jackson’s future in Baltimore aren’t going away

“A true good faith negotiation means both sides have to understand the other side’s position and make concessions,” DeCosta mentioned Wednesday. “Every negotiation that I’ve been a part of — there’s been quite a few over the past four years, as you guys know — it’s been a give and take. And that’s what good faith means. It means you respect the other’s position, you give up something to give other things. Both sides will typically move in a negotiation to some degree and find a common ground, and that’s what it’s all about.”

If that’s going to occur, it must occur very quickly. Harbaugh, for one, nonetheless believes it’s going to.

“He’s my quarterback. He’s my guy,” Harbaugh mentioned. “I love him and, as a coach, I’m just looking forward to seeing it get done, but it’s not easy. It’s never easy. It’s the business part of it. But I’m really hopeful and excited, fervently hopeful and can’t wait for it to get done.”

At his end-of-season information convention in January, Harbaugh mentioned that the group is “200 percent” dedicated to Jackson being the group’s quarterback in 2023. Asked Wednesday whether or not that has modified, Harbaugh mentioned, “Same as it was then. I think your point is, 200 percent, we want Lamar. And I believe that, 200 percent, Lamar wants the Ravens. I’m going to keep believing that.”


• Rob Leonard, who spent final season because the Ravens’ exterior linebackers coach, has left the group to affix the Las Vegas Raiders as their defensive position coach, Harbaugh confirmed. That provides the surface linebacker spot to the group’s listing of teaching vacancies, which additionally contains large receiver and security.

• Pass sport specialist Keith Williams will return, in line with Harbaugh.

• Harbaugh mentioned that 2022 first-round security Kyle Hamilton had offseason wrist surgical procedure, however he doesn’t anticipate a chronic restoration interval.

• DeCosta famous that he’s had a number of conversations with the consultant for pending free-agent cornerback Marcus Peters, and people contract talks are “ongoing.”

• DeCosta was noncommittal when requested whether or not veteran defensive finish Calais Campbell would return. Campbell has mentioned that he desires to return for a sixteenth NFL season, however it will be extraordinarily troublesome for the Ravens to deliver him again on his present $9.4 million salary-cap quantity.

(Photo: Tommy Gilligan / USA Today)

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