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Will He Stay or Will He Go?

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By: Todd Karpovich

The Ravens are not shying away from their commitment to quarterback Lamar Jackson, despite the tricky contract negotiations.

General manager Eric DeCosta would not even entertain the thought of trading Jackson this offseason if the two sides cannot reach a new deal.

“That’s something we’re not going to talk about,” DeCosta said about a potential trade. “Our singular focus is getting a long-term deal.”

The Ravens and Jackson are at an impasse when it comes to the negotiations.

It’s reported that Jackson wants a deal similar to Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who landed a five-year, $230 million contract, including a $44.97 million signing bonus, all $230 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $46 million.

The Ravens — or any other NFL team not named the Browns — do not want to offer that much-guaranteed money because it could cripple the franchise financially and prevent them from adding other talented playmakers.

DeCosta said the fans just have to be patient with the deal.

“It certainly takes two to tango, but I think Lamar and I have a great relationship,” DeCosta said. “I think we communicate quite often. We spent some time together today, as a matter of fact. We’ve spoken throughout the season multiple times. These negotiations, they all happen differently. Ronnie Stanley’s contract took about a year and a half; Mark Andrews’ contract took probably three or four days; we did Roquan [Smith]’s contract over the span of six days over the course of one month, basically, is what we did. So, they happen in different ways.

“I wouldn’t characterize the percentages of getting any deal done or how long it’s going to take except to say that we’ll communicate effectively, we’ll be as fair as we can be, and we’ll try to hammer out a deal. Hopefully, we can get to that point.”

The Ravens selected Lamar Jackson with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 draft. He was unanimously named NFL MVP the following year after a spectacular season where he threw for 36 touchdowns and ran for over 1,000 yards.

However, Jackson has missed 10 regular season games over the past two seasons because of injuries and that has hampered the Ravens postseason hopes.

But his value to the team is clearly evident: the Ravens are 45-16 when he’s in the lineup and 8-13 when he’s out.

That’s why they want him to stay.

“Lamar Jackson is our quarterback; he’s been our quarterback,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Everything we’ve done in terms of building our offense and building our team, how we think in terms of [bringing in] people and putting people around him is based on this incredible young man, his talent, his ability and his competitiveness. He and I were talking today too, and the thing about Lamar that to me stands out – he’s an incredible competitor.

“Lamar Jackson, all he wants to do is win at everything he does. Yes, he has a lot of talent, he’s a very bright guy, he has a big heart, but he’s just a massive competitor. That’s the kind of guys we want to build this team around; guys that love football and guys that love to compete. So, that hasn’t changed; it’ll never change.”

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Originally posted on Russell Street Report