The Baltimore Ravens held a press conference with Lamar Jackson to discuss his long-term deal with the team, and general manager Eric DeCosta spoke about the long road to completing the deal, via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.
“There were some dark days,” Eric DeCosta said, via Zrebiec. “I'm not going to lie to you. It was a tough stretch. But we know Lamar. We had a lot of conviction that this was the right thing to do.”
Eric DeCosta was honest about the negotiations, which took a while, and it was not smooth. Jackson requested a trade back in March at about the time the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on him.
The non-exclusive franchise tag opened up the possibility of other teams signing Jackson to an offer sheet. The Ravens would have had the opportunity to match an offer sheet from any team and keep Jackson, and DeCosta spoke on that, saying that he would not have matched any deal Jackson got, but it would have taken a large contract for the Ravens to not match.
When Jackson signed his contract, the notion was that the extension that Jalen Hurts signed with the Philadelphia Eagles helped in DeCosta's negotiations with Jackson. At the time, Jalen Hurts' deal made him the highest-paid player. Jackson's deal was slightly bigger than that. It is five years for $260 million, making him the highest paid NFL player ever.
The Ravens have secured their franchise quarterback, and Jackson has secured long-term financial stability.